Dear Kalinda and Sullivan,
Wow, nine months! I think I say this every month, but NINE really does feel like a milestone. You’ve been earth-side for longer than you spent inside my tummy, you’re growing like weeds, you’re coming into your individual personalities, and you’re starting to feel more like toddlers than babies. You are starting to understand the things we say to you and you even respond to your names (though you both respond to both names plus all of your various nicknames, haha!).
You two are on the move! You aren’t officially crawling just yet, but you are very speedy army crawlers (with literal blisters on your big toes as a result), and you absolutely love crawling around the house and exploring each room. You are no longer content to hang out in your playpen or play mat, and don’t even like when we close the doors to the rooms because you want complete freedom to roam. (Although you do like to play with/close those doors yourselves!) We still hold or wear you when you are tired or cranky, but more often than not you are happiest on the ground, moving around . . . and making trouble! You each have your ways of getting into mischief: Kali is constantly after rogue wires and cords, while Sully is always playing with doors and trying to gnaw on the doorstops. I definitely stay busy following you both around, keeping you corralled and safe!
You are pretty easy to entertain: a simple burp cloth or even your own hands can keep you occupied, but you are getting more interested in toys as well. Your favorite is your light-up alphabet train, but you also really like your stacking blocks, rattles, and the spinning toys that stick to your high chair trays. You are fascinated by balls (from beach balls down to small round blocks) and you remind me of little puppies the way you push and chase a ball (and each other) around a room. You also have a lot of fun with Charleston’s nerf light sabers and look hilarious waving them in the air and at each other. When we can’t let you roam, you do pretty well playing with your toys on the floor of the office at Daddy’s feet while he works.
Sleep continues to be somewhat of a challenge, mostly because we are keeping you on the same schedule and in the same sleeping spaces, but you aren’t always tired at the same times. Usually you can sleep through each other’s cries, but occasionally the awake twin will antagonize the sleepy one (patting his/her back or, in Kali’s case, climbing on top of Sully’s head). We have cameras on your (recently-lowered) crib (where you nap) and the playpen in my room (where you sleep at night) so we can keep an eye on you both, and watching you can be highly entertaining (albeit frustrating on those nights when you simply refuse to sleep).
We put you down for naps around 9:30 and 1:30, and you eventually sleep for 1-2 hours at both naps, though you fuss yourselves to sleep and sometimes we need to go in to console you. You also catnap in your carseats in the late afternoon if we go for a walk or a drive, or in your swings at home on days when you simply aren’t having it. We aim for a 7:30 bedtime but you often don’t fall asleep for an hour or two. You are still waking up at least once and sometimes two or more times during the night to tandem nurse, and you rarely sleep past 6:00 or 6:30 (much to your Night Owl mama’s chagrin!).
We have nothing but good news to report on the feeding front. Breastfeeding is going great, with you nursing on demand throughout the day, though the nursing sessions have gotten a lot shorter. Kali is an easier nurser than Sully (who likes to playfully bite me or tug my nipples, ouch!) but you both love your milkies for both the food and the comfort.
You are also fantastic eaters who LOVE your solid food. We are still relying a lot on purees, but you’ve gotten pretty good with finger foods as well (though smaller foods like puffs and raisins still give you some trouble). Pancakes and mashed bananas continue to be your favorites, but with the exception of hummus (which you still don’t like), you will eat just about anything I give you, including more complex-flavored foods like potato salad, cottage cheese, and baked beans. Sully is our more intuitive eater who either stops eating or gets playful when he’s full (from milk or food); Kali will continue wanting to eat past the point of contentedness and regularly spits up, especially after nursing. Sully is also better at chewing and navigating finger foods, while Kali is so eager to get more food into her mouth that she forgets to chew and swallow.
From the time you were in the womb and we could see you through ultrasounds, my favorite part about having twins has been watching you interact with each other, and that interaction just keeps getting more fun to observe. You still mostly play side-by-side, but occasionally I’ll catch you in a moment of truly playing together, chatting and making each other laugh. You almost always follow each other around when you’re exploring, and you like to play peek-a-boo with one another on either side of a slightly-open door. Kali likes to play peek-a-boo with a burp rag, which makes Sully laugh and laugh.
Another really fun aspect of having twins is that we get to see you develop in different ways and at different times (something we probably wouldn’t notice in non-twin siblings). Kali has been hitting the physical milestones ahead of Sully, while Sully is much more verbal. (The opposite of what I would have expected based on your genders!) You frequently pick up habits one after the other, and it’s hard to know whether you are learning from each other or just progressing naturally but at different paces. One thing you have not picked up from each other is your personalities, which are growing more distinct by the day.
Kalinda Joy, you are proving to be one very precocious little lady. A month ago you were barely moving, content to sit and watch your brother roam around. Once you decided you too could army crawl, you did so with a vengeance: your crawl looks like the butterfly swimming stroke, with you shimmying across the floor with both arms and knees at once. You can get onto your hands and knees, but only crawl a few steps “the real way” before sinking back to your belly, probably because it’s more efficient. You also get into down-dog position, feet planted on the ground and booty in the air, which I think is your attempt at walking. You LOVE to walk while holding our hands.
You’ve figured out how to get in and out of a sitting position, and prefer sitting to being on your tummy. Often I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to see you sitting quietly in your crib, content as can be. You are able to pull yourself to standing, but can’t figure out how to get down and I regularly come across you standing next to a low table or toy, crying because you’re stuck. You have perfect posture when you sit or stand, and look like a dainty ballerina.
That delicate image evaporates the minute you open your mouth because you grunt with a fierceness that does not seem possible from someone your size. In fact, your habit of grunting has earned you the nickname of Little Dinosaur. You grunt when you are happy, when you’re sad, when you’re angry or you want something, and especially when you are climbing all over your brother. And speaking of climbing over your brother—you do it ALL the time: you crawl over him when you are playing together, you hang onto his bottom when he’s crawling ahead of you, you climb on top of him when you’re in your crib, and you push and pull on him when he has a toy that you want. You even sit on poor Sully’s head when he’s trying to sleep! We rarely intervene because we want you two to know how to work things out on your own, but you are lucky that your brother is such a chill kiddo!
You have gotten very adventurous and seem more interested than Sully in new places and new activities. But while you’re certainly feisty, you have a very sweet side. You love to be cuddled, you regularly crawl into my lap to be held, and you positively beam when we compliment you. I think you know that you’re my little Princess—my Dinosaur Princess, that is!
KALI’S LENGTH: 24 inches
KALI’S WEIGHT: 13 pounds 13.5 ounces
KALI’S HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE: 17 inches
KALI’S CLOTHING SIZE: 3-6 months
KALI’S DIAPER SIZE: 2
KALI’S EYE COLOR: brown (but sometimes they look grey or dark blue)
KALI’S NICKNAMES: Kali Joy, Joy, Princess Kay, Little Dinosaur, Sister (Most of the time we call you Kalinda Joy)
KALI’S TOOTH COUNT: zero
KALI’S FAVORITES: Arlo, Charleston, toy train, balls, pancakes, bananas, standing
KALI’S DISLIKES: having your face wiped, hummus, refried beans, waiting to eat, having a dirty diaper, Arlo barking, trash bags (you saw Daddy shake one open and it scared you and now you don’t like them at all)
KALI’S MILESTONES: getting into/out of sitting position, pulling to standing, playing peek-a-boo, getting into down-dog position, taking steps with help
KALI’S MEMORABLE HABITS: climbing on Sully, dinosaur grunting, getting stuck standing places, “butterfly stroke” army crawl
Sully Bear, it’s possible that there’s another baby out there who is as sweet and happy as you, but if so I haven’t met him. You are an absolute sweetheart who is almost always smiling and easy-going, including during diaper changes (which for a while were quite a challenge). Even when your sister is climbing all over you, you rarely get upset. Rather than retaliate, you frequently rub her back or try to snuggle with her. However, when you do get upset about something (usually because you are tired or hungry) you melt down very quickly and those tears sure can flow!
Physically you aren’t progressing at the same speed as Kali, but you are steadily hitting your milestones. You’ve been sitting on your own for four weeks now, but until this past week it was with reluctance: you would slouch your body and stiffen your legs in a fight to be put down on your tummy instead. You are finally starting to enjoy sitting, though you still do so rather awkwardly with feet straddled in front of you, and you haven’t figured out how to get down from a sit just yet.
You’re still working that one-sided army crawl, moving exclusively with your right arm and leg. You’re starting to try to get into official crawl position, but can’t go further than a step. You also are starting to get on your feet, booty in your air, which had been your sister’s trademark move for a few weeks. You wan’t nothing to do with standing or walking and literally lift your feet off the air when we try to get you to stand.
While Kali might be outpacing you on the physical front, you have her beat with verbal skills. You are one very chatty boy and babble to me all day long. You have all sorts of syllables in your repertoire: clicking tongue, gagagaga, babababa, dadadada. When I ask you a question you respond with a sigh that sounds like “yeah,” and when you want my attention you say “mamamama” (I could be wrong but I’m fairly certain that one is intentional). You also say something that sounds remarkably like “Kalinda” when we are talking about or to your sister. I absolutely love our “conversations” and always come away laughing at your adorable antics.
SULLY’S LENGTH: 25.5 inches
SULLY’S WEIGHT: 13 pounds 14 ounces
SULLY’S HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE: 17.5 inches
SULLY’S CLOTHING SIZE: 3-6 months
SULLY’S DIAPER SIZE: 2
SULLY’S EYE COLOR: hazel (but sometimes they look green or blue)
SULLY’S NICKNAMES: Sulls, Cheekies Junior (since your cousin Collin is the official Cheekies), Sully Bear, Bear (Charleston and Daddy call you Sullivan)
SULLY’S TOOTH COUNT: zero
SULLY’S FAVORITES: Arlo, Charleston, toy train, balls, pancakes, bananas, string cheese, baby carrots
SULLY’S DISLIKES: having your face wiped, sitting, Kali standing on your head, Arlo barking
SULLY’S MILESTONES: sitting on your own, getting into down-dog position and crawling position, advanced babbling
SULLY’S MEMORABLE HABITS: constant chatting, letting Kali crawl over you, right-sided army crawl
Kali and Sully, every moment with the two of you is a gift, and even the hardest parts of parenting you are memories I want to hold onto forever. If I could, I would encase every day in a glass jar that I could always look back on and remember. I wish that words were adequate to capture all that is YOU each month, because every stage is truly so special. I know that much of this first year will fade with time, evaporating from my memory as you slip into toddlerhood and childhood and beyond. One thing that will stay with me is how much I loved and was fascinated by you, every step of the way. Thank you for the blessing of being your mom.
Love Always and Forever,