The New Normal

Teme has added a joyful and exhausting dimension to our lives.  He has changed so much in the month that we’ve known him. Teme took his first steps on January 13th when we were playing at Matt’s parent’s house.  He is now taking 2-3 steps at a time.  Lulu is eager to help him.  She likes to have me take one of his hands and she takes the other and leads him around the house.  Teme is able to say “mama,” “dada,” “no,” “boo,” “hi,” “bye bye,” “hot,” “tickle tickle,” “choo choo,” “kitty,” “puppy,” “woo woo” (the noise the puppy makes), “all done,” “up,” and he is imitating more and more.  He is proficient at waving hello and goodbye.  He’s fast at crawling and quite good at climbing.  He has mastered the stairs on the little slide at church, and he is able to get off of our couch without falling most of the time.  He loves to be bounced, thrown in the air, swung, rocked, tickled.  He seems to like rough play.  He isn’t particularly good at looking at books yet, just likes to close them.  He knows where his nose is.  We’re still working on other parts.  He cracks up at the “poo tinky toes” game, and he loves to play peek-a-boo.  He likes to play in our play kitchen, but he’d much rather empty out my drawers and cabinets.  Most of the day he carries a white rubber spatula around the house with him or some plastic silverware from the play kitchen.  I think he might be a chef one day.  He loves kitchen utensils, and he loves food.  He mimics Lulu quite a lot.  If she throws her cup, he does also.  He follows her around the house and gets frustrated when he can’t keep up.  He is still easily frustrated by meal times.  If food isn’t immediately in front of him when we put him in his chair, he cries.  If I try to feed him, he cries.  If the food is too hot and needs to cool some before I’ll let him have it, he cries.  He gets so upset that he gags and chokes and has trouble settling down enough to actually eat when it’s time.  If he thinks we have something to eat that he doesn’t have, he cries.  If the bowl is empty, he cries.  Teme is getting more aggressive with food also.  Yesterday I put Lulu in her chair for snack and gave her a banana.  I went back to the counter to get Teme’s snack ready.  Meanwhile, he crawled over to her, pulled up on the side of her chair, and took her banana right out of her hands.  He crawled away pretty quickly while she yelped.  He is much better with varieties of textures, and he is getting much better at chewing.  Like Lulu, Teme loves our kitties, but he isn’t very gentle with them.  He often crawls after Truman and pulls his tail.  Truman, fortunately, is a very docile kitty.

I’ve been surprised at how quickly he has picked up language since he only heard English for the first time about 3 weeks ago, but he has been learning new words every day.  I suppose it helps that he is so much older than Lulu was when she came home, and he gets to hear Lulu jabber all day long.  We listen to music most of the day.  Lulu likes to dance and clap.  Her favorites now are “if you’re happy and you know it,” “Limbs Akimbo,” “Sunlight,” “ABC,” “Bingo,” “The B-I-B-L-E,” and “The Wiggle Wiggle Song.”  I’ve been trying to structure our days some.  With two kids, it’s hard to know how to pass the time.  In the mornings, we have breakfast, and I let the kids play on their own while doing the breakfast dishes.  I try to get them ready for their day next, and then we have reading time (or run errands if needed).  We have lunch at about 11 am and then they take their naps at about noon.  After nap, we have snacks, coloring time (Lulu still eats crayons, so I have to supervise pretty closely), more book reading (especially if we didn’t have time earlier).  They have independent play time while I’m working on getting dinner ready.  After dinner, they play with me and daddy, and then we get ready for bed.  Bedtime is at 8:00 most nights.  This seems to work for us, and as I get more proficient at keeping up with them, I think I’’ll work on incorporating more purposeful activities into their day.  When it is warm, I try to take them outside.  This is a little difficult with Teme still since he doesn’t walk yet, and he and Lulu both tend to want to put acorns in their mouths.  I’m hoping that the double stroller that I want will be on sale soon so that I can take them for walks around the neighborhood on my own, but for now, we use our single stroller and my baby carrier when I need to go out with them both alone.  It isn’t easy getting them both in and out of the car, but I generally load one and then the other.  When we arrive at our destination, I get Teme out and put him in the carrier.  Then Lulu gets out and holds my hand while we walk into the store.  She sits in the shopping cart (difficult getting her in and out with a baby strapped to me, but we are getting better).  She has been so good about holding my hand and walking in the parking lots.  She’s growing up fast, such a big girl now.

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