Turns out, living with twin toddlers is a lot like living with severe coke addicts. They don’t want to eat. They don’t want to sleep. They don’t stop moving. Ever.
Every road is a path to destruction and on their way there, they leave even more destruction in their wake.
From what I understand, there is no way around this but through it, no Dr. Drew gonna show up and fix things. So whatever. We’ll just have to resort to a few tricks around here to get things normalized.
One of them involves mini muffins.
Slater and Wallace don’t seem to like to eat any more, which is fine, I GUESS, and supposedly NORMAL (toddlers feel they have better things to do than to sit down and eat) but it drives my primal mommy brain insane. In order to calm myself, I concocted a muffin recipe that assures me they are at least getting some nutrients in here and there.
I used a mini muffin pan so at least the size would appear novel to them. I snuck in carrots, apples, bananas (all things they used to eat with fervor!) as well as coconut, and oatmeal.
They ate two each this morning, along with a healthy dose of milk. I feel better. But maybe that’s because I had a several muffins myself.
COKEHEAD TODDLER MUFFINS
(adapted and renamed from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)
In large bowl, mix:
1 1/3 white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oats ( I used organic quick oats)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 apple, shredded
3/4-1 cup baby carrots, shredded
1/2 banana - mashed
1/2 cup coconut, unsweetened, shredded
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
Mix this stuff together, then make a well in the middle.
In a separate bowl, combine:
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk ( I used whole cows milk)
1/4 cup coconut oil (liquified)
Once combined, pour into well in the dry mix and stir till moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
Spoon into greased mini muffin pan.
Bake 12 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Makes 24 minis, keep in ziploc in fridge, or freeze extras…if there are any.
Two faces to wash, and four dirty hands
Two insistent voices, making demands
Twice as much crying, when things go wrong
The four eyes closing, with slumber song
Twice as many garments, blowing on the line
Two cherubs in the wagon, soaking up sunshine
Work I do for twins, naturally comes double
But four arms to hug me, repay all my trouble.
His name is Slater Copen and he enjoys waking me up by repeatedly handing me any and all things within his grasp from my nightstand. His brother Wallace runs interference lest I try to hit the snooze button.
I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted. There’s no excuse other than I’ve just been busy living life. Slater and Wallace are now almost 14 months old and it’s crazy to think that at this time last year, they were still basically the equivalent of a newborn kitten whose eyes are still sealed shut. So, so, so much has changed. My life feels almost back to normal, but at the same time, still utterly different, the changes irrevocable but not regretful. Despite the gentle hum of anxiety that accompanies being responsible for two new lives, I’m probably the most content I’ve ever been. Or maybe I’m just super tired…
Here are the guys playing in one of the giant cardboard boxes that our monthly delivery of bulk diapers and wipes comes in. Pretty soon we will be able to build an entire ante-house in the yard with these boxes for posterity. I’m sure that will raise the property value, right?
I now understand why parents always seem to think whatever their kids do is the most amazing thing. it’s because we knew them “when.” Back when they couldn’t handle being awake for more than a few minutes. Back when they couldnt burp themselves or go without eating ever 2 hours. Heck, we even knew them back when they were a translucent profile seen thru high tech imagery that got its nutrients from a tube that connected your body to theirs. Obviously anything they do from that day forth is going to be nothing short of miracle!
At nearly 14 months, Slater and Wallace are both almost walking. Yesterday Wallace took one step on his own in the backyard before falling on his butt and inadvertently spraying himself in the face with the house. We celebrated this as a victory nonetheless.
They’ve traveled by car to Lake Arrowhead, and by plane to Seattle. They’ve gone swimming in pools big and small, and rode a carousel at Woodland Park Zoo. Slater tried bleu cheese dip and potato chips and couldn’t get enough.
Wallace likes to make a scrunch face when he smiles and both guys love, LOVE, love to dance. Wallace in particular likes to groove by nodding his head, like he’s really digging the vibe, ya dig?
They drink milk and eat normal human food now, although most of it they prefer to feed to Zero, who is starting to look like a before picture of Valerie Bertinelli.
So a year later, things are good. Life is busy, and I always need to be going full throttle, but I can’t complain. Like I said, I have a new alarm clock.
There’s been a lot of talk about the new HBO show GIRLS (which begs the question of if HBO simply puts shows on the air that will create buzz, whether or not they are good), mostly about class and race and generational bias and on and on.
I’ve thought about the show quite a bit. I watched and re-watched the pilot, trying to gauge the intended take away, trying to gauge how I felt about it, trying to gauge its tone. I watched the second episode, laughing out loud at the opening scene, not because of what was going on, but because of my friend saying after seeing the pilot that if the next episode had any more awful sex scenes in it, she was out for good.
To me, GIRLS seems more like CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM than SEX IN THE CITY, despite what the hype tried to make us believe. Lena Dunham seems a likely candidate to be a young, female version of Larry David (and they both have the same initials, snap!) Although the levity in GIRLS is subtle, the comedy is derived from the awkwardness of the main character, just like in CURB. I am equally disgusted and enthralled by watching both LDs cringe-worthy sexual encounters.
If nothing else, GIRLS feels like a show conceived, written and directed by a 24 year old about 24 year olds, who are from a specific demographic. It’s a slice of life, maybe not of my life, or your life, but of theirs.
Whether or not we can relate says a lot about who we are, right? As a tail end Gen X-er, I find the show pretty infuriating at times. I mean, after all, it was my generation that WANTED those service jobs that these girls clearly don’t even entertain as options. We basked in saying we worked at coffee shops, in fast food, mowing lawns, working construction, spending long, dangerous summers on Alaskan fishing boats - all so we could spend THE REST OF OUR TIME CHASING OUR DREAMS (although I think we mostly just smoked pot.) And yet, we were the ones deemed slackers. The girls in GIRLS feel entitled to be able chase their dreams, and without the burden of having to make ends meet.
Maybe that’s GenXs fault. We’re old and cranky and terrible role models. We had the dot com thing, and then it busted. We had grunge, and then everyone died. What kind of example does that set? You can work your ass off and have all sorts of integrity, but nothing is guaranteed. No wonder LD(female) and her buds are determined take a different route. Of course, what does “determination” mean if its only directive is to get your parents to give you more money instead of actually using that drive to make money on your own?
If that’s the case, okay then. I guess the reality for many Millennials depends on extended parental funding. Maybe watching that play out is not going to appeal to everyone. Just like if someone turned a camera on my life in my early 20s, documenting us “slackers” as we used to do things like TEMP (god forbid) while trying to figure out who we were. I had a friend who was so often unemployed he finally got hired on in a permanent position at the temp agency he always used. THAT COULD BE AN EPISODE, GUYS.
In closing, I think LD (female) is either a genius or she’s lucky or she’s both. No matter what, I’ll be tuning in.
At 8 months, both Slater and Wallace are proficient at sitting ( I would say “mastered sitting” except that would be wholly untrue. They still tend to weeble wobble) and are working on crawling. It’s been frustrating for them, but they don’t quit - which honestly is pretty inspiring. I mean, if we all just GAVE UP ON TRYING THINGS at 8 months old, we’d all be…I don’t know….Jabba the Hut? Immobile and angry? Never mind.
8 Month Stats -
Slater: 20lbs 12oz, Wallace: 21lbs 4oz
These guys like to keep up their weight with 3 meals of solid foods, in addition to 5 bottles of formula. We are practicing with finger foods, which basically involves me shoving Puffs in their mouths and sippy cups, which basically involves flooding the kitchen. Baths have been moved to the “big boy tub” and our living room has been taken over by foam alphabet letter flooring and a baby coral sort of thing, resplendent in primary colors.
Slater and Wallace, 8 months old, in their Easter hats:
So it’s a cliche for a reason. It really does “go so fast.” I can’t believe Slater and Wallace are already 7 months old. I also can’t believe Michael Apted just walked by my house with his dog and son. However, all of these things are true.
At our last doctor appointment, Slater weighed in at 20 lbs even, and Wallace at 20lbs, 5 oz. Although they are still working on sitting up on their own (they’ve got a little bit of Humpty Dumpty in them, and it takes all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to keep them upright,) they are doing great at rolling around and also scooching. They love to explore the rug all the way to the hard wood floor, which they enjoy pounding with their hands when they get there.
Solid food is going well, so well in fact, Slater is losing interest in his bottles. It’s more like something he has to suffer through until he gets to the good part of any meal - the solid food. This month we will move from simple veggies, fruits and grains to full fat yogurt and meats. Very exciting indeed.
Slater can barely contain his excitement:
So, I’m in the worst mood. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m mid-pilot or if it’s because of the terrible dream I had last night where Los Dos were kidnapped and I had to scale these really high SHELVES. Anyway, when I feel like this, sometimes I just need to HATE-BAKE - where I take out all my negative energy on making, then consuming large amounts of fat and sugar. Sadly, while my husband is getting in amazing shape through Crossfit, my post-partum body continues to resemble that of a pre-pubescent boy with an estrogen imbalance (read: flat chested and inexplicably dumpy hips.) Crossfit is super annoying and I’m pretty sure it’s a cult, but it does seem to work. Especially if you adhere to the ridiculous “paleo” diet they want you to go on. The paleo diet does not normally account for hate-baking, but I found a way around it that satisfies my hate-baking urges without making me even more squishy.
I present to you PALEO BANANA BREAD. (Kill me now. But also, make me thinner.)
2 Cups Almond Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup butter, melted (next time I will remember to try using my coconut oil! but for whatever reason, which I don’t understand, butter IS “paleo-friendly.” gross.)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (add more for sweeter bread)
Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, then combine together and pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350.
Unlike this still from the superb Tawainese film EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN, mealtimes with the Copen twins are anything but refined, especially now that we’ve introduced them to the wonderful world of (semi)solids.
We like it messy.
At about 5.5 months, we started with sweet potato, baked, then mashed and thinned with water. Slater took to the idea of eating off of a spoon quicker than Wallace, but now they are equally exuberant about the whole thing and get really excited when I start getting out their accoutrements. (As you can see, they each get their own plastic spoon which they play with while I sprint back and forth, feeding them with slightly smaller spoons that fit into their mouths a little easier.)
There’s a lot of different ways to start your baby on solids, and I wanted to do some sort of middle ground between the traditional way (purees, usually rice cereal as the entre) and something called baby lead weaning - where you basically give your guy or gal a very soft hunk of fruit or veggie and let them gnaw away as they like.
Either way, it’s generally best to do a trial period of about 3-4 days for each food you introduce, so that you can check for any allergies or intolerances.
Here’s what our menu has consisted of so far:
Food #1: sweet potato puree thinned with water - 3 days
Food #2: avocado, mashed - 2 days (The first time around, they didn’t love avocado, now they do. That’s another thing - if your baby doesn’t seem to prefer a certain food the first time they try it, no thang, just try again in a few weeks!)
Food #3: banana, mashed- 3 days (I used fresh bananas, which, a note about poop here: it can cause little black strings in the stool. Don’t freak out. I did. But you shouldn’t. Because it’s no big deal. PS I am not a doctor, so…but I really think it’s okay.)
Food #4: baby oatmeal prepared with breast milk - 3 days
Food #5: sweet potato mashed with avocado - 1 day
Food #2: avocado, mashed, take 2 - 1 day (And score. Avocado is now loved)
Food #6 baby oatmeal prepared with water and cinnamon - 1 day (They LOVED this - the cinnamon was a hit, but I think I used too much because it made the area around their mouths a little red.)
Food #7 carrots - 1 day and counting (Carrots seem like a revelation. They could not get enough. I buy organic carrot baby food because I got scared of nitrates, but I’m not entirely sure how real of a risk it is to just make your own.)
Once you’ve gone thru the trial period and noted that your baby doesn’t have any negative reaction, you can give that food whenever you please.
So far, I am only feeding them once a day, after the 2nd morning bottle. In the next few weeks will we slowly start doing two feedings.
At this age, their primary caloric intake should still be from breastmilk or formula so remember, “food is fun until they’re one!” (Um, then I don’t think it becomes UNfun, necessarily, it’s just, you know, suddenly more important.)