Dear Sullivan and Kalinda,
We’ve reached double digits! You cuties are just two months away from a birthday, and acting more and more like toddlers by the day. In a way I don’t feel like you’ve changed all that much since our last monthly update, but when I think back to life with you four weeks ago, I realize how much you’ve grown. Most of those changes have been individual ones, as you grow more fully into your unique selves, but we’ve seen some “twin shifts” as well. You’ve gotten increasingly mobile (still not officially crawling but you are lightning fast army crawlers) and I spend my days trying to keep up with you. You definitely don’t like being corralled in a playpen or even a single room (though you do pretty well hanging out with Daddy in his office while he works at the standing desk); instead, you love roaming the house, exploring every nook and cranny. It’s fun to watch you explore and discover more about our home, but you get absolutely filthy from being on the floor (even though I clean the floors every day), and it can get a little stressful as I try to keep you both safe as you roam in different directions. Thankfully, you tend to gravitate back to each other or to another family member, so when you wander off, you’re not too hard to find.
Though you play well independently when you are fed and well-rested, your moods can switch at the drop of a hat, and then you get clingy and want to be held. It’s adorable to see you both excitedly race across the room to crawl into my lap, but that presents its challenges when I can’t stop to hold you. It’s also gotten a lot harder to carry you both at once; I can still do it in a pinch, but I’m glad that Daddy works from home and can help out with this. Thank goodness you are generally easy to sooth as long as there are some free arms available.
A huge change this month is that we’ve moved you into your own crib—in your own room—for both nap times AND night time! My master bedroom feels so open without your playpen in there, though my room is still home to your swings. I think Daddy is happy to have his bedroom back (he’d been sleeping on the couch since you were born), but for now he’s in there alone: I don’t feel comfortable with you being so far from me at night (your room is on the other side of the house from the master), so I’ve been sleeping with Charleston so that I am just one room away and can hear you when you wake up at night. (I can’t say I mind this, as we co-slept with your big brother for four years and I’d missed his nighttime cuddles; it makes me sad that I don’t get those with the two of you. . . .) These days, you are going to bed between 7:00!and 7:30 and sleeping until 6:00 or 6:30. (Those mornings are a little early for me, so after I nurse and change you, I often put you in your swings to doze until Charleston gets up at 7:20 so that I can get a little more rest.) Most nights, you only wake up for one middle-of-the-night feeding, but the time varies and can be anywhere between 2 and 5. Your nap times have remained consistent: you nap at 9:30 and 1:45 and sleep for about an hour at both naps; if you wake up earlier, we move you to the swings to sleep a little longer. As for a third nap, we’ve been going to the gym in the afternoons, so you often catnap in the car on the way home; getting out of the house from 4-5:30 has been a great solution to the battle that is the witching hour!
Speaking of the gym: you are both steady sitters now, so we’ve started to do some walks with you sitting big-kid style (sans infant carriers) in the stroller! You are both so cute on those stroller walks, leaning forward and refusing to lie back. Whichever of you is sitting in the back seat that day is constantly reaching forward to tap the other baby’s head. I’ve found that it works well to leave one of you in the infant carrier facing backwards and put the other in the forward-facing seat so that you can face each other and play footsies; you love that! On days when I decide to run on the track, you both stay in your car seats. But you don’t mind because you love when I run the stroller!
Another sort of developmental shift/milestone this month is that you are big enough to easily sit on my lap while nursing, which means we have mostly transitioned out of using the double nursing pillow and into tandem breastfeeding you in our glider. This is so much cozier for all of us, as you were getting too big for the pillow and constantly sliding off. It’s funny to watch you play with each other on my lap while you nurse, and try to switch breasts as soon as the other baby pops off. We don’t have a set nursing schedule—I try to follow your cues on that—but I almost always nurse you right before nap times and bedtime; you don’t nurse to sleep (usually) but go down much more easily when your tummies are full and we’ve had our snuggles.
You are now eating three full meals each day. Breakfast is usually finger foods, which you eat first thing in the morning while I unload the dishwasher and get the rest of the family’s breakfast prepared. You eat lunch around 1, and it’s usually cereal, yogurt, or some other puree that I spoon-feed you (you are getting a *little* better at patiently taking turns while I feed you both). Family dinner is at 6 and is a mix of finger foods and me feeding you a baby-friendly version of that night’s meal. You end almost every meal with a Baby Num Num—which is mostly just a mess-free way to occupy you while I clean up, haha!
Your big brother is still as obsessed with you as ever and loves that you are big enough to actually play with these days. He likes reading to you, helping you play with blocks, and dancing with you to music. Unfortunately he can be pretty rough so we’ve had to put restrictions on his interactions with you (no more trying to wrestle, pick you up, jump over you, or put you in headlocks). Still, I catch him sneaking kisses on your heads and faces at least a dozen times an hour, and neither of you seems to mind. And your fixation with big brothers extends to your puppy brother: you are always crawling around in search of Arlo, and he is great about letting you pet him and pull on his ears and dog tags. He is just as enamored with you and is almost always nearby—especially at meal times!
Playtime with you gets more fun by the day. You are entertained by nearly anything, but your block train is probably your favorite: you like to climb over and around it, put the blocks into the train, clap the blocks together, and play with the flashing buttons. I enjoy watching the two of you mimic one another’s actions—whether that’s clapping blocks together, chasing a ball around the room (or sometimes rolling it back and forth with each other), or pounding on the floor. You often “fight” over a toy, but we’ve never had to intervene as you always seem to work those conflicts out on your own. More often, you play well side-by-side and increasingly together; Kali especially loves performing peek-a-boo for Sully, who finds it hilarious. Seeing the two of you laugh together is quite possibly the most magical thing I have ever witnessed—and I get to see it multiple times per day. How on earth did I get so lucky?!
Kali Joy, I’ve always heard that girls are easier than boys; you are doing your part to dispel that myth! You are a girl who knows what she wants and when she wants it, and won’t let anything get in her way! You escalate quickly when you don’t get an immediate response, and you have a horrible habit of climbing all over poor Sully when he’s in your path, or at nap times and night time in your crib. (We have to keep a very careful watch on the baby monitor before you fall sleep, as you have a tendency to pound on Sully’s head or scratch at his face, which requires a parental rescue mission.)
You have a knack for getting into things you’re not supposed to (you are always the first to discover a rogue Lego or a dangling wire), but understand the word “no” and are getting better at listening when we tell you to stop doing something. You also respond to your name (only Kalinda, not any of your numerous nicknames), but you also respond when we say Sully’s name, so I don’t know if you know yet whose name is yours.
Diaper changes with you have become the bane of my existence, as you HATE being on your back and are determined to do whatever you can to escape my grip while I change you. Sadly for both of us, you also hate having a dirty diaper, so there’s no putting those off! You also hate lying on your back for pictures; this month’s photo shoot was a several-session affair, and frankly I’m quite shocked we got any decent shots of you this month!
You more than compensate for the challenging moments with your sweet snuggles and smiles. You adore being held, and you love gazing into my face, exploring my nose and eyes and mouth and ears with your hands (and occasionally leaning in to give each of them a taste).
This month you’ve slowly started to exchange your trademark grunting for much sweeter cooing and babbling. You still give your pterodactyl shriek when you’re upset and between bites of food at meal time, but I am glad to know that you have a gentler voice as well (we’d literally begun to worry that there was something wrong with your vocal cords!). You’ve also taken to squealing in long, drawn-out bursts that remind me of The Little Mermaid’s vocal exercises—who knows, maybe you’ll be a singer one day!
A month ago you were already pulling to standing and getting into a sitting position on your own, but you’ve gotten even better at doing those things and move in and out of positions with the grace of a ballerina. You are starting to figure out how to get down once you are standing but you still frequently find yourself stuck and squealing to be rescued. You often get stuck around and under chairs and on Arlo’s cot, too!
I was surprised that you didn’t make more progress with either crawling or walking this month. You are able to do up to twenty steps in an official crawl, but always drop down to your belly for your snake-like army crawl—probably because you travel much more quickly that way! And while you can walk with help, you haven’t shown any more interest in taking steps on your own.
You still have a good appetite but have become a much pickier easier. It’s difficult to get you to eat more than fruit, vegetables and breads, but when it comes to those foods—especially muffins, baby carrots, and pancakes—you can’t get enough! You are more into nursing than your brother, but unfortunately you’ve started to bite; Sully was doing that for a while, but soon stopped, so hopefully you will too. You still spit up after almost every nursing session, but you never show any discomfort and the spitting up doesn’t seem to bother you at all.
You do NOT like going to sleep. You rarely go down easily for a nap or at bedtime, and Daddy or I often need to come in and rock/soothe you to help you calm down. (We would let you cry it out, except that when you are awake, you climb all over your brother in the crib). When you are over-tired and we try to soothe you, you initially attempt to climb up us and scratch at our faces and writhe out of our arms. Once you do settle down, though, you sleep well and almost always wake up in a good mood. I live for those moments when I get to scoop you from your crib, your little arms wrapped around me, a giggle escaping from you as I plant kisses all over your cheeks. I’m sure we have many mother-daughter battles ahead of us, but if we can continue to hold on to each other and laugh together, I think we’re going to be just fine.
KALI’S LENGTH AND WEIGHT: No measurements this month, but shorter and chubbier than Sully.
KALI’S EYE COLOR: brown
KALI’S CLOTHING SIZE: 6 months (I had fun changing out your clothes for the next size this month!)
KALI’S DIAPER SIZE: Size 2 (but 3 would probably fit better, I think it’s time to size up)
KALI’S TOOTH COUNT: Zero
KALI’S LIKES: playing peek-a-boo, cuddling with Daddy, playing with cords or wires
KALI’S DISLIKES: diaper and outfit changes, having your hands and face wiped, getting stuck standing, foods with strong flavors, going down for naps and bedtime
KALI’S FAVORITE FOODS: pancakes, rolls, raisins, steamed carrot sticks, graham crackers
KALI’S FAVORITE TOYS: rags for playing peek-a-boo, balls, alphabet train
KALI’S MILESTONES: babbling
KALI’S SIGNATURE MOVES: “butterfly swim stroke” army crawl, playing peek-a-boo, crawling on and over Sully, touching faces
Sully Bear, I didn’t think it was possible, but you actually got more sweet, happy, and easy-going this month! You are almost always laughing and smiling, waving your hands in excitement, or contentedly chilling with a toy in your hands. When you are sad, you get very VERY sad, but it doesn’t happen too often. (You have a strong startle reflex, so loud noises like Arlo barking are your biggest triggers.)
Your sister can be SO ROUGH on you, and you rarely get upset. Unless she’s clearly hurting you, we try not to intervene so that you can learn to fend for yourself, but even though you’re capable of pushing her away, you hardly ever do. I’m not sure yet whether this is a positive or negative trait: I want you to be able to stand up for yourself, but love that for now you are a peaceful Enneagram 9 to your sister’s aggressive 8. (I know I’m not supposed to type my children, but you so clearly follow those types it’s difficult not to.) Let’s just hope you aren’t bottling up your anger, only to one day explode!
You have been checking off the milestones left and right this month! You are now able to get into a sitting position on your own, and are able to pull to standing. But if Kali is a ballerina in her movements, you are a gangly colt: your legs are so long and your body is SO FLEXIBLE that you end up in the most hilariously contorted positions; half the time, your attempts to sit up find you literally sitting in the splits!
You’ve begun mimicking several of Kali’s signature moves: like her, you like to stick your booty in the air in a Downward Dog pose, and you frequently rock back and forth on your hands and knees like you’re getting ready to crawl. I’ve seen you take a few crawled steps, but for the most part you are still rocking that one-sided army crawl.
You are an absolute chatterbox, babbling all day long. We have great “conversations”, with you replying to what I say with vocalisms that sound like “yeah” and “no” and you always talk during prayer time. You can mimic the sounds in words we say, and we are fairly certain you are intentionally saying “mama” and “dada” and even trying to stay “Charleston” and “Kalinda.” You smack your lips like you are kissing and love blowing raspberries and clicking your tongue. You also respond to your name, and you look at Kali when we say hers.
While you have an easier time going to sleep than Kali (except when she climbs on you and keeps you awake while you try to sleep), you do not wake up well. You lie on your tummy, little rump sticking up like you’re in Child’s Pose, and sob pathetically until we come and get you, and it usually takes some soothing to get you to calm down. You no longer fight me when I try to calm you, though, and have become a delightful snuggle bug.
You don’t get into mischief quite as often as your sister (though you are rarely far behind her when she does), but are fascinated by doors (including the door to Arlo’s crate) and are always trying to play with or close them. You’ve gotten yourself trapped in a room—lying in front of the door so we couldn’t open it—more than once!
You have an amazing appetite and will eat almost anything. You’re pretty good at following your hunger cues, but it takes quite a bit of food to fill you up. You happily eat up whatever you sister won’t eat, and especially love her leftover bits of meat and cheese. The only foods you haven’t really loved are hummus and spicy guacamole; everything else is devoured with gusto. You like your milkies too, but unlike Kali you are more interested in the milk than the cuddles afterwards and pop off as soon as you are done. You also spit up pretty often after nursing but aren’t at all fazed by it.
This month you discovered a love for music: whenever you hear a song, you bob your head up and down, wiggle your torso, wave your hands, and grin from ear to ear. I hope that such simple pleasures always bring you such joy, just as you and your sweet self bring so much happiness and joy to all of our lives.
SULLY’S LENGTH AND WEIGHT: No measurements this month, but taller and thinner than Kali.
SULLY’S EYE COLOR: hazel
SULLY’S CLOTHING SIZE: 6 months (I finally got around to changing out your clothes yesterday, you lasted in the 3-month size a little longer than Kali.)
SULLY’S DIAPER SIZE: Size 2 (but 3 would probably fit better, I think it’s time to size up)
SULLY’S TOOTH COUNT: Zero
SULLY’S LIKES: watching Kali play peek-a-boo, music
SULLY’S DISLIKES: loud noises, getting stuck standing
SULLY’S FAVORITE FOODS: anything! But especially steamed carrot sticks, sausage, and pancakes.
SULLY’S FAVORITE TOYS: balls, alphabet train
SULLY’S MILESTONES: pulling to sitting, pulling to standing, mimicking words
SULLY’S SIGNATURE MOVES: one-sided army crawl, doing the splits, dancing and bobbing head to music, blowing raspberries, grabbing Kali’s bows
I don’t remember particularly loving this stage with Charleston (I really enjoyed the newborn and toddler stages with him, but the time in between was more challenging for me), but these past couple of months with you have been an absolute delight. Watching you continue to discover the world around you . . . getting to know your unique personalities . . . seeing you acquire new skills . . . and especially watching you laugh and play together—and with Charleston and Arlo—has brought me more happiness than I could ever have dreamed. We have our hard days, and difficult moments (taking pictures of the two of you together has gotten nearly impossible—as evidenced by the picture below!) but they don’t hold a candle to the joyous memories I create with you each day.
This morning we were sitting in our glider after milkies, you both situated in my lap. Kali started touching my face so I responded by showering her with Eskimo kisses. Well, Sully thought that was hilarious and started cracking up, so I started giving HIM Eskimo kisses, and that got Kali giggling. There we were, sitting in our chair, laughing together and holding on to one another. What a precious moment that I never want to forget. Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU for the indescribable, incomparable gift of being your mom!
I Love You Always and Forever!