Toddler Hearing Test

E&L had tubes placed in their ears earlier this year after a series of ear infections and constant fluid in their ears. In addition to the effect so many courses of antibiotics would have on them, we were also worried about their hearing and speech development — if they couldn’t hear, how could they learn to talk?

So we had the tubes placed and it was relatively quick and easy (as far as surgery goes — it’s still not great to hand your baby off to a nurse and know they’re going to be put under general anesthesia) and afterward they could hear! And they started to talk! But part of the Ear Nose and Throat doctor’s follow-up care involves tests to make sure that they’re hearing well. L passed his right away, but E has never passed her tests.

The audiologist has to place an instrument in the outer ear that makes sounds and measures the ear’s response to it (an Otoacoustic Emissions test, or OAE). They get best results when the child is still and quiet, so, you know. Difficult for a toddler to achieve. Plus, frankly, the audiologists at the ENT’s office never seemed willing to try very hard to make it work. They wound up referring us to a hearing specialist to do more and different tests to see if they could get a passing result for her. She was so cooperative and good! Her left ear got a passing result right away, but then she wanted to move and talk a bit while the doctor was testing her right ear. She was able to measure the response she wanted, but not at a high enough level for a pass.

The next step was to let her respond to stimuli in the booth. This was kind of fun to experience. E got to sit in my lap inside the sound proof booth while the doctor was outside observing. The doctor made sounds at different levels on E’s right and left side to watch her look for the source. My job was to be so quiet and still and not consciously or subconsciously cue E to look in any particular direction — just keep her comfortable and calm. She passed this test at normal levels and did great. Then, while we were still in the booth, the doctor tested her speech comprehension by asking her to touch her nose. At first, E didn’t seem to want to respond. I know she knows this because she has been playing touch-your-nose forever, but she can be a contrary little soul. So when she didn’t touch her nose after several requests, I kind of shrugged at the doctor through the window, like, enh, you win some, you lose some. But then E decided to get on board with the game and proudly showed off her nose, eyes, and ears while also waving and grinning at the doctor. Yay!

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So the upshot today was that the left ear is totally fine. The right ear may have failed the OAE due to noise/movement, or she may have failed because sometimes tubes cause them not to see the desired OAE response. But she’s doing great with her hearing and speech development and the doctor had zero concerns right now. If we start to have concerns in the future, we can go back, but otherwise we’re good to wait until her next six-month follow-up at the ENT. I wish we could have just gotten a straight pass on the OAE for both ears, but I guess this is still fine so I’ll take it.

Use Your Words

Do you ever just feel like making some inarticulate screaming noises? Yes? I do. And so I have total sympathy for my toddlers when their feelings well up and they have to just let it out: low-key whining, flailing, screaming, or full-on wet-noodle tantrumming.

A lot of the time, I can cut off the crying loop if I interject to remind them that I would be very happy to help them but I can’t understand what they need if they’re whining; could they please use their words instead? It’s impressive how often this works. They can stop and say, “MAH CHOO-CHOO” or “NO-NO DOGGIE” or “MO DJOOSE” or “HEP PEEZ.” Of course, they’re at a stage where this trick only goes so far — a lot of the time, the source of their turmoil is as yet inexpressible to them. Still happens to me on the regular, honestly, so I get it.

There are a lot of things they can’t say yet — their own/each other’s names, for example. the names of some of their toys and books and of some of the foods they like. Usually, pointing and asking for “dat” is what helps. “Dat” book on the high shelf, “dat” box of crackers, etc.¬†Several times recently, E&L have been playing together in the playroom when all of a sudden L bursts into tearful wails. When I ask him to try to tell me what’s wrong or what he needs, he just turns to his sister with angry tears in his eyes and points at her emphatically, “DAT.”

And that’s when I see that she has taken the structure he’s been painstakingly building out of his Mega Bloks and threw it on the floor and smashed it. “All my hard work!” “Why does she like to annoy me?!” “Now I have to re-build!” L isn’t able to express that all just yet, so an accusing point and an emphatic “DAT” are the best he can do. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t crack me up every time.

Outside

The kids absolutely love a playground and we are lucky enough to have one in our neighborhood. It’s a frequent outing on weekend mornings: plop them in the jogging stroller and head down to the playground a mile from our house. We stay and play for a while and then head back home. Everybody gets outside, everybody gets some exercise, everybody wins.

Except yesterday, when we got there to find that the gate had broken and been zip-tied shut. It’s the kind of gate that takes an ID card to open (the playground is for HOA members only, which ūüôĄ), and it seemed like when the mechanism broke, rather than leave it open and available to everyone, someone decided to shut it completely and prevent ANYONE from getting in. (Sure, we could “just” cut the zip ties, but who carries scissors to the playground?)

I hate this attitude and it’s not the first time I’ve encountered it with our HOA. We’re constantly hearing about how people who don’t even live in our neighborhood want to come use our pool and playground. Allegedly, people try to “jump the fence” on the reg. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard our HOA president promising to build a wall around the neighborhood soon slash claiming it will be paid for by the less affluent neighborhood to the south.

So anyway, we of course had two very broken-hearted toddlers in our hands who cried the entire walk home, L wailing repeatedly, “ow-SHIIIIDE! ow-SHIIIIDE!” It was little consolation to his soul to be told that, although we were not at the playground, we were still technically outside.

And that is how today, when it started pouring down rain just as we arrived at a public park (not taking chances with our neighborhood playground again), we wound up at the McDonald’s PlayPlace — you can bet we were not going to break those children’s hearts again. You want to slide? You are god damned getting to slide. And mama is buying some warm chocolate chip cookies and a giant Diet Coke.

E&L: 23 Months

I don’t do monthly updates on the twins anymore, but since I’m on this daily posting project and it happens to be the fourth of the month and I happen to have taken some photos of them today with The Good Camera, why not?

Twenty-three months, in case you are bad at math, is just one month away from turning TWO YEARS OLD. What even?! They’re so big and they’re learning so much and it’s so fun to be around them — most of the time, you know. They have a lot of emotions to express, which can be a bit overwhelming for everyone involved, but on balance, they’re generally sweet and charming and adorable.

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Today we went to the library after their nap and the first thing they wanted to do was color. They love picking through the buckets of crayons and waving them around and coloring on the table and also occasionally on the coloring sheets the library provides. They also love running to the stacks of picture books, choosing one and bringing it to me or CW to read — then jumping back up two pages in when they decide they don’t like that book after all and running back for a new selection.

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DSC_0637At 23 months, Jellybean:

  • is learning new words all the time and makes some two-word sentences as well. Most adorably, the other night she was heading to the couch with her dad and L to watch TV after dinner and I was still in the kitchen doing something so she ran back in and grabbed my hand and said, earnestly, “Couchie, Mama!” and dragged me to the living room to snuggle. Sweet bear.
  • is very interested in when her dad and I go to the bathroom and has recently learned all the bathroom vocabulary and, nope, I’m not ready for this, so never mind.
  • is very opinionated about everything and often has a strong preference for her dad when it comes to getting up, getting dressed, and having her hair done. I think she knows how bad I want to get her dressed and do her hair and she is rejecting me out of spite? No. Of course not.
  • loves her toddler-room teachers and knows their names and breaks into a cheesy grin when she talks about them at home.
  • takes after her dad in that she is NOT a morning person. L can be up yelling at us for a good half hour and she’ll still be lying flat on her face, all “NOOOOOOO” when we gently ask if she’s ready to get up. Hashtag twin problems.

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DSC_0611.jpgAt 23 months, Blueberry:

  • is catching up to his sister in vocabulary and is often better at pronunciation (he often takes great care to say the final consonant on words where she drops it, e.g. “cowwwCHHHH”)
  • has taken a shine to building with his Mega Blocks and comes up with the most fun, wacky, creative, Dr. Seuss-esque structures that continue to impress me.
  • is a big-time reader and will settle in and snuggle up in our laps for seemingly unlimited reading time. He’s so sweet and so engaged, his eyes locked into the book and one hand gently holding my wrist while I read.
  • sometimes has a hard time with school drop-off but has a reputation among his teachers for being the sweetest and most laid-back little one in the class (and I can see why).
  • takes after me in that he is absolutely a morning person and wakes up dialed to eleven and raring to go.

Some of their recent favorites:

  • Foods: mac and cheese, fries, yogurt/kefir, avocado, eggs, all fresh fruit (L), cinnamon toast, butter
  • Entertainment: Daniel Tiger, Moana, Sing
  • Books: Sweet Pickles, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Eeek Halloween, Olivia

They’re in bed but now I miss them and want to snuggle their sweet little faces. Hashtag mom problems.

E&L: 18 Months

My children are now one and a half years old. By the time I post this, they’ll actually be closer to two than they are to one, which seems crazy to me, but the facts check out. Time is indeed passing.¬†

I’ve chosen not to do monthly updates this year, but I thought 18 months seemed like a pretty nice milestone to bring back the scrapbooky twin blog post. I haven’t been writing here, but I have been taking photos every month — a project that gets tougher and tougher the more mobile and independent these two become. They certainly do not pose or smile for the camera, but they are, as ever, fully themselves. Here are a few photos from the last six months:

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13 Months
14 Months
14 Months

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14 Months
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15 Months
15 Months
16 Months
16 Months
17 Months
17 Months
Playing
18 Months

Since I last updated here, they’ve had so many milestones. Some were not so fun: first (among many) sick visits to the pediatrician, first surgeries (ear tubes for both). But then we got to enjoy things like their first Easter egg hunt, first artwork brought home from “school,” first time in a swimming pool, first¬†time walking through the parking lot holding hands instead of being carried, and of course first words! Neither baby is talking much yet, but now that they’ve got their ear tubes and can actually hear (after months of constant infections and fluid in their ears), we’re not worried. They’ve made a lot of progress since getting their ears clear.¬†

Flower Petals

They have their own little world at daycare every weekday, where they hang out with their little friends and their teachers and do art projects and sing songs and take naps on tiny little cots, which seems insane to me, but their teacher says it’s going well. They love to go on wagon rides around the neighborhood and climb up the play structure at our neighborhood playground and they really love to point out anything and everything to ask what it is. “Da?!” “Tree.” “Da?!” “Bird.” “Da?!” “House.” “Da?!” “Kitty.” “Da?!” “Tree.” “Hiiiiiiii!”

They are fun and funny and love to imitate each other and make each other laugh. They run to hug each other at the end of the day whenever one of them has been home sick from school. If one of them is crying, the other one will offer a binkie, stuffed animal, or book to ease the pain. The other day, E was crying about something in the tub, and L just reached over to her and started gently touching her face, pointing out her nose, eyes, ears, and so on — this is one thing I often do to distract them from fussing (“Where’s your nose? Where’s your belly button?”). Let me tell you, when L started doing it for E, it was the sweetest thing in the world.¬†

Front Door

At 18 months, E: 

  • Can consistently say dada, mama, ba(ll), hi, hello (when pretending to be on the phone), bye-bye, da (what’s that?), and something that sounds like shoes. Occasionally she will also say do(g) and something that is either milk or mine.
  • Can sign more and all done.
  • Loves to eat cheese, yogurt, and veggie burgers.
  • Has 12 teeth.
  • Will finally wear a bow in her hair all day, unless she sees it in the mirror (for example, while riding in the car), in which case she will promptly remove it to play with.¬†
  • Is obsessed with shoes and is super excited whenever she gets new ones. She carried her pink Chucks around lovingly all day the first day she saw them. She even gave them rides on the toy tractor.¬†

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At 18 months, L: 

  • Can say hi, bye, da (what’s that), woof (when asked what a dog says or when seeing a picture of any animal) and will babble all the livelong day in sounds that really sound like words, but aren’t any words I know.¬†
  • Can sign more and has turned the sign for drink into something that means “give me that thing.”¬†
  • Can feed himself with a spoon and loves to dip his food in any kind of dip or sauce. Loves all fruit, cheese, bagels, yogurt, and avocado.¬†
  • Has 10 teeth all the way in and two new ones just surfaced.
  • Loves his stuffed snow leopard, Leonard, and likes to carry him around and give him hugs.¬†
  • Loves books and will happily flip through, studying the pictures, endlessly.

They are exhaustingly wonderful and I am often in grateful disbelief that I get to be their mom.

Scorpions and Toddler Conversations

Thing I learned today: there is a scorpion emoji.

Another, related thing I learned today: there was a scorpion in my bathroom.

I say “was” there because the scorpion is no longer in my bathroom. I smashed it with a Birkenstock and flushed it down the toilet because women get shit done. Also because there was no one else home. We’ve been intending to get some professional exterminator service going for our house, but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet because, you know, twin toddlers and full-time jobs. Well, who needs the professionals when we’ve got me and my Birkenstocks?¬†Seriously, though, the pros are called and are coming. If I never see another goddamned motherfucking scorpion in my goddamned motherfucking bathroom again, it will be too soon.

In other exciting developments, L finally has a recognizable, consistently used word in his repertoire: hi. He loves to wave and say hi to people, dogs, and even his favorite tree, the enormous weeping willow at the end of our street. All are worthy of a friendly greeting from Buddy. I love it.

E has had a few words for a while now, mostly dada, uh-oh, ball, bye-bye, and, occasionally (but not often), mama. Since having their ear tubes placed about 6 weeks ago, we know they can both hear well again and they’re starting to talk more as a result, which is so fun. L “talks,” babbling-style, all day long, just chattering on to us about everything that goes on. Of course, we can’t really understand him at all, but he has the cadence and tone of real conversation down! E loves to point things out and have us identify them by name, while she pays careful attention. They both especially love to notice, point out, and have us identify all kinds of animals. It’s really fun to watch them learn.

Do you think they will understand if we tell them to stay out of mama and dada’s bathroom because there are goddamned motherfucking scorpions in there?

E&L: One Year!

One year old. I can barely believe my babies are ONE YEAR OLD, but the calendar does not lie. This time last year, they were squishy, tiny, wrinkly little babies who weighed a total of almost-twelve pounds at birth (and less than that when they came home from the hospital).

Today, they’re learning to walk, trying to talk, climbing the furniture, expressing their preferences for food and toys and books and fashion accessories, and it’s almost like they’re actual little people or something. TWO of them. Some people would even call them toddlers. (Not I, though. They’re babies. Large babies.)

Eleanor & Linus
Eleanor & Linus
Eleanor & Linus

In the past month, they’ve had their first Thanksgiving, which was great fun. Last Thanksgiving, we were just not sure how soon the babies were going to come, so we held off on making any plans because we thought we might wind up in the hospital. It turned into a quiet day at home (my husband cooked) and the babies waited another week or so to make their arrival. This year, we had two new little faces at our table! We let them try all the foods we were having: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. They loved everything except the moment when CW sprayed a tiny, tiny blob of whipped cream into their mouths directly from the can (they were not into that at all, whoops!), but then they wound up enjoying dessert when we put a little bit onto their trays for them to pick up themselves.

Saturday, we had their birthday party, which turned out to be really fun. My BFF Claire a and her son visited for the weekend, plus we had our local friends over, many of whom also have little ones. There were a few kids around from age 5 months to 9 years, and they had fun running around and playing with some of the twins’ toys. We had brunch food and mimosas and cupcakes, and of course tiny smash cakes for the babies to try.

We like cake!

Y’all. The cake. It was amazing. E enjoyed her cake, which she dug into with one hand and ate fairly neatly. L, on the other hand, quickly realized that cake is delicious and that eating with one hand is not nearly effective enough. Perhaps he realized that this was a limited-time situation and that the cake would be taken away at some point, so he decided to dig in with both hands — and then quickly moved on to diving face first into the cake. We were DYING laughing. I will never forget it. Dude just kept going and going, both hands sunk knuckle-deep into the sides of the cake, frosting all over his face, and eventually ate (“ate”?) a not insignificant portion of cake and frosting. I am so proud.

Eleanor

At one year, E is 29.75″ tall (72%) and weighs 22lb 4oz (83%). She:

  • Has four five teeth. Her top two were slowly, slowly coming in over the past few weeks and they finally broke through. In the time it’s taken me to get photographs ready for this post, her fifth tooth (bottom left) came in!
  • Has taken 10-12 independent steps at a time on several occasions, but still doesn’t choose to walk very often. She prefers to walk while holding one of our hands or to crawl. I’m sure she’ll get to walking full time very soon, though.
  • Still scrunches up her nose when smiling and generally smiles with her whole face. She has the best dimples.
  • Has started refusing to wear her headband bows, to my great dismay. And so it begins: soon I’m sure I’ll have no influence at all over what she wears, so I’d better enjoy choosing her clothes while I can.
  • “Talks” quite a bit, though not with (m)any real/intentional words, mostly just babbling. She’s said “mama” and “dada” a few times, and “da” (possibly directed at the dog?) but we’re not confident any of those counts as a purposeful first word yet.
  • Points, claps, waves, and gives high fives — the lattermost she just learned this past weekend from her big buddy, Liam (my BFF’s son), age 9, who came to visit and is an excellent teacher.
  • Can be both a little bit shy and extremely friendly in the same moment — she loves to smile and wave at new people, but often only wants to do so from the safety of her parents arms/laps.
  • Loves to play with her Little People farm animals and put them into their places in the barn. Sometimes she also loves to stick the animals in my face until I let her put them in my mouth. Why, E, why?

Linus

At one year, L is 29.5″ tall (35%) and weighs 20lb 14oz (43%). He:

  • Has four teeth. The second top tooth came in shortly after I last posted about this, so they’re well established now and he’s been putting them to good use gnawing cantaloupe off the rind and digging into birthday cake.
  • Has taken 1-2 independent steps at a time, but mostly has been working on his climbing skills. He’s able to get up onto the futon in the nursery and onto the ottoman in the playroom without assistance.
  • Has the most delightful full-belly laugh. The other day, I started goofing around with him and something about the way I was shaking my head back and forth made him laugh, so of course I just kept doing it over and over until he was completely¬†CRACKING UP and it was the absolute best. I love making this kid laugh.
  • Loves to read stories. He will get his favorite books off the shelf and bring them to us to read. I love letting him cuddle up in my lap while we read — he usually holds my hand/wrist and just snuggles up so sweetly. His favorite books recently are Brown Bear, Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.¬†
  • Has just started “talking” a lot more. He’s always been a bit quieter than his sister, but lately he’s really got a lot more to say. He’s experimenting with new sounds. My favorite one is the “ga” sound he makes every morning when he sees the lit-up Christmas tree for the first time. He really likes it, I think.
  • Points, claps, waves, and gives high fives. And loves to grab people’s glasses right off of their faces! I find it a lot easier to wear my contacts, quite honestly. He’s obsessed!
  • Loves his stuffed animals, particularly an old monkey of mine that I handed down, and a new snow leopard his dad picked out for his birthday. He’s so sweet when he hugs them.

I love watching them grow up so much. We’re so lucky and thankful to get to be their parents.