Monday, July 25, 2011

Table Food Ideas

Wonder twin powers activate! Form of messy eaters! (17 months)

I don’t cook (currently anyway) and I’m trying to satisfy two toddler palates, so mealtimes can be tricky to say the least. Here are some foods you might not have thought of to try with your own little one(s). And I’d love to hear your own food suggestions in the comments section.

My Top Ten Food Ideas

Frozen vegetables. Most people figure this one out on their own, but if you’re just starting out let me clue you in. Buy lots of bags of frozen veggies and then just take out tomorrow's portions the night before and let them defrost in the fridge. (Note: Frozen fruit does NOT work. Too much of a mess.) I have a collection of broccoli, green beans, peas, corn, lima beans, asparagus, artichoke hearts, and snap peas, all met with varying levels of success. (And in the case of the lima beans, asparagus, artichoke hearts, and snap peas, no success.)

James is surprised that he was able to fit broccoli up his nose. (17 ½ months)

Julia and her bib of pea carcasses. (13 ½ months)

Freeze-dried fruit. (Not to be confused with frozen or dried fruit.) No matter how many times I tried, the twins rejected every fruit except banana, apple and pear, and the last two they only barely tolerated. Then I introduced them to freeze-dried fruit. They couldn’t get enough of the stuff! Seriously, I have to actually cut them off because they’ll eat more than an entire bag in one meal. These are by far their favorite foods. In fact, I have to make freeze-dried fruit their last course at a meal because after any of that they won't touch any other food. Their clear favorite is the blueberries, followed (in order) by strawberry, mango, pineapple, and banana. They're only lukewarm on corn and they don’t care for the tomatoes (which are pretty odd in freeze-dried form). This is a great snack, too, since mine seem to anticipate crunchy foods at snacktime.

And the number one sign I know they’ve had too many freeze-dried blueberries? Blue poop.

Blueberry Führer (18 months)

James signs for more freeze-dried blueberries after polishing off an entire bag. (18 months)

Julia shows off her blueberry-stained hands while performing her latest trick. (18 months)

Leftover pizza. One of the great things about babies is that they’ll finish the leftovers you don’t want. Our babies love pizza from A Slice of New York. Thankfully they have the good taste to reject one of Mark’s inexplicable favorites, Papa John’s. My friend Karie taught me to use kitchen scissors to cut up the pizza. What a time saver!

Frozen meatballs. (Trader Joe’s brand of turkey meatballs) Meatballs can be high in sodium so beware. The Trader’s Joe’s brand has the lowest sodium that I’ve found.

Chicken dumplings. (Green Chopsticks brand or Annie Chung’s chicken cilantro wontons, both from Whole Foods.) These are crispier and easier to cut up if you microwave them about 2 minutes. Green Chopsticks’ brand has a version that is labeled for kids and one that’s not, and the only difference I can find is that the kids' version is slightly more expensive. Be careful of other dumpling/gyoza/wonton brands because they can be high in sodium.

Chicken or turkey sausage. (Trader Joe’s chicken and sun-dried tomato sausage) Sausage definitely tends to be high in sodium and nitrates. The Trader Joe’s one is by far the lowest in sodium I’ve found. Even though the sausages are pre-cooked you still have to make sure they’re cooked to steaming to prevent listeria. I don’t follow package directions (cooking in an oven) because it takes too long. I just microwave them, being sure to cut them in half first so they don’t explode.

Teriyaki tofu. (Wildwood brand at Whole Foods; there’s also a cheaper Trader Joe’s brand) For the longest time I just couldn’t get Julia to try tofu. Then one day at a playdate, their friend Ronan sat in a high chair and kept chucking his food over the side. My kids sat like dogs on the floor, waiting for scraps, and to my surprise Julia gobbled up the tofu. (I’ve tried some other tofu brands and this is by far their favorite. The consistency of other brands is apparently off-putting.) My friend Kathy C. was over for a playdate one day and lamented that her twins wouldn’t eat tofu. I whipped out some of this stuff and voila! Tofu eaters!

The twins gather under Ronan to eat his discarded tofu. (Thanks to Stacy for the picture!) (13 ½ months)


Julia bats her eyes at Ronan in the hopes that he’ll throw down more tofu.

“Never mind. I’ll just get it fresh from the source.”

Tofu spaghetti. (Refrigerated sections of some stores carry this next to the tofu.) If you’re struggling to find another protein, here’s a good one if they like pasta. Just boil and toss with some pasta sauce.

Filled pasta. Cheese tortellini with pesto is a big hit as is chicken ravioli.

Spinach, zucchini, potato, sweet potato cakes, and veggie burgers. The “cake” family of vegetables. These are good alternatives when your babies reject vegetables. I’ve bought latkes (potato, sweet potato, and zucchini) for them as well as the healthy Dr. Praeger's line of spinach and sweet potato cakes and veggie burgers. The most popular of all have been the veggie burgers and the zucchini cakes, and the least popular so far are the sweet potato cakes.

Grilled chicken with sauce. (I usually use already cooked chicken from Trader Joe’s. El Pollo Loco or any rotisserie chicken will work.) I know this is a no brainer but here’s the key: add sauce, particularly pesto. Julia will actually sometimes refuse chicken if there’s no pesto! Other options: mixing in spaghetti sauce, leftover Thai or Indian curry sauces.

Pre-packaged snack foods

The bread food group
: toast with peanut butter, pita, waffles, bagel thins, and English muffins. (I mix it up to expose them to a variety since they're supposed to have a whole grain at every meal.)

I don’t know what exactly is in Julia's mouth. Something bready? (15 ½ months)

So glad James decided to rub the toast in his hair the day I put peanut butter on it. (17 months)

Avocado in wheat germ so it’s easier to pick up.
made with pita and cheese.
Frozen yogurt (This is a snack when we go out. Pinkberry will give us samples and we spoon-feed them to the babies. This is how we treated the twins after James’s most recent traumatizing haircut.)
Raisins, dried cranberries (cut up)
Canned beans
Canned olives (Another mother suggested this and only James has liked olives so far and that was only once. The other times he’s snubbed it.)
Cucumber (I only mention this because it is by far the babies’ favorite vegetable)
Broccoli (I only mention this because Julia absolutely LOVED it for awhile.)
Roasted cauliflower (This is one of the only dishes for them I “cook.” I put some olive oil in a bowl, rotate the cauliflower in it, and then sprinkle the cauliflower generously with curry powder before cooking it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.)
Spaghetti and sauce (a messy favorite)
Cauliflower fries or oven-baked potato fries (Whole Foods)
Cheese (Laughing Cow soft cheese)
Pierogis (potato and cheese)

Pre-packaged snack foods

I’m trying to create a competition where I have different snack foods face off against each other by putting said snack foods on the babies’ trays at the same time. The winning snack food would be the first snack food each baby picked up. Unfortunately too often each baby will pick up a different snack than the other. The only definitive win so far was the Cheddar Bunnies’ thrashing of Rice Cakes. (But that was predictable. They’re Rice Cakes!)

I can’t keep Mark out of the babies’ snack foods. I like to say that I’m buying food for three babies. I actually have to buy extra because he’ll inhale the Puffins, multi-seed crackers, snap pea crisps, and peanut butter sandwich crackers.

Cheerios (I switched from Puffs to these because they appear to be healthier and have less sugar.)

Julia used to love her Puffs. (9 ½ months)

Papa feeds Julia Cheerios in milk. (18 months)

Rice Krispie-type cereal (I give my babies Erewhon’s brown rice cereal found at Whole Foods which was deemed “healthiest puffed rice cereal” in some recent article. The pieces are small so it takes forever to eat - good when you want more time on your laptop.)

Julia and her Rice Krispie beard. (16 ½ months)

James thinks Rice Krispies make a good leave-in conditioner. (17 months)

Puffins cereal (though I'm a bit concerned about the sugar content)
Multi-Seed Crackers
(Crunchmaster brand; original flavor; a bit high in sodium)
Apple chips (Apple Harvest brand)
Cheddar Bunnies (Annie’s brand; like Goldfish crackers)
Peanut butter sandwich crackers (Trader Joe’s organic brand)
Cheese sandwich crackers (Trader Joe’s organic brand)
Graham crackers

Banana and graham cracker snack day was a combination immediately regretted by Mommy. (14 months)

Snap pea crisps
Seaweed (Trader Joe’s brand. My parents enjoyed making fun of my giving the babies seaweed since apparently it’s more evidence of my multi-cultural elitism.)
Yogurt melts
Rice cake (Mr. Wheat brand) This brand's rice cakes are much thinner than normal rice cakes so I don’t have to worry about them being chokeable. I like giving the babies these when they’ve had a huge snack but are still telling me they’re hungry, since these don’t have a lot of calories and won’t fill them up before dinner.
Baby Mum-Mums (these are rice rusks, whatever those are)

Julia’s duckie pant twin Maya (eventually) gave her a Baby Num Num to try for the first time. (10 ½ months)

I shied away from the teething biscuits which they are only supposed to gnaw on. Julia used them correctly while James got busy putting those new teeth to work, leaving lots of big chokeable pieces we had to dig out of his mouth.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mostly June, July & August 2010, Part III

James starts clapping on 8/1, and then in the days that follow he claps when he should sleep and when he's on his tummy (not sure how he worked that!). We also hear him clapping in the middle of the night which is when he also likes to sleep-flip and grab his feet. He's so eager to practice his new skills! Julia claps for the first time on 8/23, and she'll do it when happy or frustrated. On 9/2 James starts waving bye bye and Julia begins the following day. James also likes to fist pump likes he's on The Jersey Shore or Arsenio.

Holding Bottles
In early July our friend (and preschool teacher) Rachel R. comments on James's impressive fine motor skill accuracy. By mid-late July he's able to hold his own bottle at the correct angle for weeks (which makes double feeding so much easier on Mommy), and once he falls asleep while drinking (see the video). While he drinks he also likes to hit his bottle, and while Julia drinks she likes to hit her head. (I think it's because she's concentrating and it tastes good.) On 8/26 Julia holds her own bottle briefly and gets better at it as time goes on.

One of the first times James holds his bottle by himself. (7 months)

In July, baths begin to involve A LOT of kicking, especially by James, and the bather and the bathee get totally soaked.

Julia and her ducky turban. (7 1/2 months)

James is proud, yet still modest. (8 months)

By late July if the twins see an out-of-reach toy that's on a blanket, they will cleverly pull the blanket toward them to get the toy. They both like new textures - Julia will kick the foam mat and James likes to hit the hardwood floor. James just likes to hit toys in general (or hit toy against toy) while Julia's much more gentle. We can only give James three toy links at a time because otherwise when he swings them he hits himself.

At the beginning of June, when James finishes a bottle he likes to have a smile contest with me and play tug-of-war with the burp cloth. Grandma tickles James for the first time on 6/8 and he giggles. They both love having blankets fluttered overhead (see the video), and Julia laughs for the first time on 6/11 - a giggle not a squeal - when Mark flutters one over her. To cool off babies after our walk, I strip them and apply cold washcloths to their skin. Then I blow on them. Their eyes get big and they smile.

Starting at the end of June, Julia likes to watch Mark make formula while she's seating on Grandma's lap. Mark will suddenly duck down peek-a-boo style and Julia will strain her neck to see him. Mark likes to drop pillows on the babies, and to my surprise they love it. James giggles hard when I rub noses with him and kiss his face, and both love having their chins tickled.

In late August, James likes to kick the door against the wall while on his tummy. Then it ricochets back and he continues kicking. Julia likes when I put my hand on my mouth, make a kissing/suction cup sound, and touch different parts of her body making the same loud kissing noise, and return my hand to my mouth and repeat. I enjoying playing "Mommy swing" with the babies where I put them in my lap facing away from me and rock them back and forth. By the beginning of September they both like to play with our faces.

Things They Do That Make Me Laugh
On two occasions right before inserting a thermometer into Julia's rectum, she poops. After the second time I ask if she'll always poop before I use a rectal thermometer and she says what sounds like, "Oh yeah." As Mark likes to say, "Julia poops more by 9 a.m. than most people do all day." Once after a bottle, Mark claims that James doesn't need burping and right then James burps. "Well played, James," I say.

One day as I hold Julia, burping her after finishing a bottle, James spits up, having finished his own bottle. But before I can put her down and clean him up, he flips himself out of his Bumbo chair and crawls out of reach, his squeaky clown shoe laugh trailing behind him, and when I laugh he laughs more.


Julia's first tooth arrives in late July and her second is on it's way a few days later. James's first teeth come in about two weeks after Julia's.
Thankfully there is not a lot of teething pain drama.

Julia's first tooth! (8 months)

For their first solid food the babies try rice cereal. James tries it on 6/12, thinks about it and likes it. The next day Julia tries rice cereal. I give her 3 bites and it's clear at bite #2 she doesn't like it. Julia's not big on this whole "eating thing" until Papa somehow convinces her to eat while we're gone on our Jeopardy! trip. James on the other hand always enjoys eating and amuses us by sometimes making a chomp sound when eating solid food. He also cutely shivers when he takes first bites of foods and then smiles. Many of the twins' interactions these months take place when eating - they look at each other and laugh while in their Bumbo chairs.

James's first feeding. "It tastes better when Daddy feeds me." (6 months)

Julia's not thrilled to try food for the first time. (6 months)

Foods Tried
(All are from baby food jars except cereal and yogurt)
Rice cereal
Carrots (Julia tolerates; James makes a sour face but then opens his mouth, smiles and does a little shimmy; orange poo)
Peas (James opens mouth and seems to really like; makes Julia gassy)
Sweet Potatoes (James loves; Julia tolerates, seems to like more than other foods - she actually opens mouth a few times)
Oat Cereal
Pears (James makes "pear face" - one eye open, one closed - because of tartness?)
Apples (Julia's favorite thus far)
Bananas (James strains a lot and is uncomfortable while eating; produces his first turd!)
Peaches (a hit)
Green Beans and Brown Rice
Vanilla Yogurt

Julia's not so sure about this whole "food" thing. (7 1/2 months)

Weights and Lengths

12/07/09 (birth)
James - weight: 5 lbs., 9 oz.; length: 17.8" <5th percentile; weight for length: ~75th percentile
Julia - weight: 4 lbs., 9 oz.; length: 18.1" <5th percentile; weight for length: ~10th percentile

1/07/10 (1 month)
James - weight: 7 lbs., 2.9 oz.; length: ~21"
Julia - weight: 6 lbs., 4.4 oz.; length: ~18 1/2"

2/08/10 (2 months)
James - weight: 9 lbs., 0.0 oz <5th percentile; length: 21 1/4" <5th percentile; head: 14 3/4" ~8th percentile; weight for length: ~25th percentile
Julia - weight: 7 lbs., 11.5 oz. <5th percentile; length: 20 1/2" <5th percentile; head: 14 1/4" <5th percentile; weight for length: ~17th percentile

3/06/10 (3 months)
James - weight: 11 lbs., 2.6 oz. ~10th percentile
Julia - weight: 9 lbs., 8 oz. ~5th percentile

4/08/10 (4 months)
James - weight: 13 lbs., 14.5 oz. ~30th percentile; length: 24" ~18th percentile; head: 16 1/2" ~44th percentile; weight for length: ~60th percentile
Julia - weight: 12 lbs., 4 oz. ~21st percentile; length: 23" ~10th percentile; head: 16" ~42nd percentile; weight for length: ~58th percentile

6/07/10 (6 months)
James - weight: 18 lbs., 2 oz. ~62nd percentile; length: 26 1/4" ~48th percentile; head: 17 1/2" ~73rd percentile; weight for length: ~80th percentile
Julia - weight: 15 lbs., 6.5 oz. ~45th percentile; length: 25 3/4" ~50th percentile; head: 16 3/4" ~51st percentile; weight for length: ~44th percentile

9/17/10 (9 months)
James - weight: 21 lbs., 3.5 oz ~55th percentile; length: 29" ~62nd percentile; head: 18 1/2" ~87th percentile; weight for length: ~65th percentile
Julia - weight: 18 lbs., 7 oz. ~50th percentile; length: 27 3/8" ~50th percentile; head: 17 1/2" ~61st percentile; weight for length: ~50th percentile

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mostly June, July & August 2010, Part II


Around the beginning of June the babies love to stand with assistance. In mid-August James and Julia like to stand while holding onto furniture. Once when Julia is holding the outside of James's crib while he's inside, they happily converse. On 8/19 James starts moving side to side (cruising) along the crib for the first time. Julia briefly stands by herself on 9/2 (no hands or furniture). While Skyping with Mark's parents on 9/5, James pulls himself to kneeling and then to standing to get to the laptop on a nearby chair. Both are firsts.

Julia's doing pretty good on this standing thing... Oops. (9 months)

Added mobility comes with some injuries. The worst is when James falls off the bed and hit his head on the base of a desk chair. Exactly a month later while in a seated position, Julia falls forward hitting her head on the crib. She was seated so far away from the crib I still don't know how she was able to hit it! One day James gets his leg stuck hanging out of the crib and it takes three of us to pry him loose (Grandma and Mark hold the bars apart while I wiggle him free.)

Julia is a big flirt - I'm told like her Mommy at that age - and once when we go out to lunch she smiles at anyone who smiles at her. (Mark, ever the proud Daddy, is outraged that no one at the table next to us smiled at her or said she was cute.) When Julia faces the wall during tummy time she always manages to turn 180 degrees to face the room. We wonder if it's because she's more sociable and wants to know what's going on. Julia squirms and smiles if you approach her so you'll pick her up. At times Mark is the only one who can amuse Julia, and when she's happy she bounces up and down.

Julia's two favorite things: looking at herself in the mirror and Daddy. (7 months)

Besides eating, the babies' other primary interaction involves taking toys from each other. Julia isn't happy about it when it happens to her but she has resigned herself to her fate of toy bully victim. Since James is bigger and thus doesn't often have toys taken from him, he cries on 6/23 for the first time (I think) when I have to take a toy away.

The twins interacting in their Bumbos. (6 months)

One day James woke from his nap first and we sat on the sofa and just smiled at each other for 10 minutes. It was a very sweet moment. James loves the mirror and will smile and smile at himself. He also tried to crawl into it once.

Push up competition with another baby! (8 1/2 months)

The babies continue to have stranger anxiety, particularly James, and it's at its peak when the babies are at the Google Picnic where there are about 200 people. James gets upset and Julia just stares. One day our friend Matthew talks sternly to one of his daughters while holding Julia and, not used to that tone, she starts crying.

Serious babies at the Google picnic. (8 1/2 months)

Matthew flirts with Julia before scaring her. (9 months)

The babies really start to like books these months, especially James. At the end of June the babies will hit a book to indicate that the page should be turned or that a flap needs to be opened, and James can open some of the flaps himself in Where Is Baby's Belly Button? One day Grandma reads the cloth book, Hugs, to James and she said he looked back and forth repeatedly from the picture of a dog to his own Puppy Dog.

James cries when we stop reading to him and don't start a new book He clearly knows the word "book." Once he was nearly asleep when he heard me say "book" to Julia and he started fussing. While reading Who Loves You Baby? which has a mirror inside, James puts his nose against the mirror and looks behind the book as though to see if the other baby is there. (They also like to generally look at the back of books so it's hard to say if it was because of the mirror or not.)

James's two favorite things: books and food. (7 1/2 months)

By mid-June we've thought that they've known their own names for awhile. In July, James put his lips up to our faces when we say "kiss." On 7/31 Julia says her first word: Dada (really it's "dadadadada") to Mark. The following day James kind of says "Dada." By mid-August Julia's utterances are sounding more like talking, though she's still babbling. At the end of July Bubby reported that she saw Julia "talking" to James and he took out his pacifier so he could answer.

The babies were sleeping from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. until the beginning of July. That's when Julia started waking for a bottle at 4:30 a.m. and going back to sleep. James begins waking between 4:30 and 6:00. Thankfully these phases only last a few weeks. I realize from talking to my new friend Kashi that when I dash into the babies' room at night that my comforting them when they're only fussing and not crying only disturbs them because they're trying to fall back asleep. Nights become quite a bit easier.

Naps are still tricky though. At the beginning of August, James fights naps and fusses when I do the usual stuff (rocking, singing a certain song), so I start singing to him a different song (Close to You) and sometimes laying him on the sofa next to me as though naps are the farthest thing from my mind. It's sweet the way he looks into my eyes until he falls asleep. By mid-August I'm able to put both babies down for naps and bedtime without a fight and without even rocking and singing (though later I bring that back for just a minute before I put them down - awake - into their cribs).

I returned home and had to piece together what happened with Mark and the babies. (Something like: they fell asleep on the sofa in the Boppies but Mark needed to leave the room and didn't want them to fall off the sofa.) (7 months)

James's "Grandma Loves Me" bib almost looks like a word balloon. Also I like James's pretzel legs. (6 months)

I notice that Julia's not actually napping in any of these pictures. (6 1/2 months)

James really seems to like music by the end of July. He responds to musical toys and my singing (especially Danny's Song), which I like to subject them to when they drink their bottles. One day I sing You Raise Me Up and James in particular is absolutely enthralled! He keeps smiling and occasionally sighs. I show Grandma that I have a groupie. Julia smiles and bounces in the Exersaucer when music is played. I take them to a Musical Me demo class with interesting results.

Eating/Grabbing Feet
At the beginning of June, James starts holding his feet up by holding his ankles when he's changed. He also likes to put both feet in the air while in his crib and drop them (thud!). They both start "eating" their feet by early-mid July. Every single time I try to take a picture with his foot in his mouth James gets camera shy.

"You can hold your feet? Me too!" (7 months)

James tries to help us during diaper changes. (6 months)

Papa leads by example. (9 months)

Julia's pretty open about her foot eating habit... while James always reacts like we caught him in the act. (7 1/2 and 7 months)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mostly June, July & August 2010, Part I

I realize this post will seem very similar to the Meet James and Julia at 6-12 months ones. It was poor planning on my part. The other posts were meant to be more about their personalities at that age. This one is more about what date they first flipped, crawled, etc. I tried not to have too much overlap between the posts. Enjoy?

The Move

The big family news for these months was that we bought our first house! James celebrates move-in day by producing his first turd. He's a precocious boy with the bowels of a boy months older.

Mark and I pose with the babies two weeks after we move in. The field behind us is where 50+ houses will be built in the next year. (8 1/2 months)

Move-in day is August 12th, which is also Mark's and my third anniversary. Two days before was my appearance on Jeopardy! which involved a car trip to LA and bringing a breast pump to the studio. It was a busy couple days to say the least. It was also our first overnight trip away from the babies. Grandma said Julia looked towards the front door as though looking for us, and that she was mopey and James was difficult the first day we were gone.

The first night in the new house the babies were up every 20 minutes, and needed to be rocked to sleep. I suspect it was because they were in a new house and needed reassurance, especially since Mark and I were recently away.

I had an infection for a month which I didn't realize until later that made pumping very painful, so I had to pump at a lower level of suction, which meant I produced less and less milk. When I was only producing 1/6 of one of the babies' total daily intake (even before the infection I only produced less than 50% of the babies' intake), I made the difficult decision to wean. They had long since rejected the breast so my last pumping session was on 9/13.
Later I also found out we had been feeding the babies 33 oz. of milk/formula a day when they should have received 16-24 oz. This might help explain why we were told the babies were gaining weight too fast at their 6 month well-check appointment.

Grandma and Papa visit off and on (mostly on, thankfully) during these three months, and Bubby visits at the end of July. Mark also takes his last week of paternity leave. We Skype with Papa and Robin (my brother's friend, my parents' IT support, and eater of an entire loaf of bread in one sitting) as well as Bubby for the first time in early July. Our friends Kelsi and Drew and their son Ari see the babies for the first time at their house, along with Lila and Brendan who see the babies in a non-sleeping state for the first time.

Bubby and her grandbabies. (8 months)

Kelsi with James; The twins meet Ari (and Kelsi and Drew), which gives Julia a chance to show off her jean diaper. (7 months)

The babies visit (instead of just strolling around) a park for the first time, and lie on a blanket there for their first playdate with Ronan at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos.

Playing at a park for the first time with their friend, Ronan. (6 months)

In mid-July James discovers grass and pulls out big clumps of it. During one of our first park playdates, a loose
dog approaches so I scoop one twin up in each arm. They also visit a mall for the first time (Valley Fair Mall so Mommy can buy an outfit for Jeopardy!) and make their first trips to Target (Cupertino), Costco, and a favorite restaurant of their parents, Zeni.

Mommy holds Julia while James plays with the grass... (7 1/2 months)

...Then James takes a chomp out of Julia. "Mmm... Pilloff-y." (7 1/2 months)

The babies - well, mostly James - begin to get mobile. On 6/16 James turns over from his back to his tummy while trying to grasp the hanging giraffe on the activity mat. He repeats this trick two more times that day, once crying out because he landed on his arm. Julia *mostly* rolls over to her tummy reaching for the cube toy on 7/1, but makes it completely over to her tummy on 7/4. Once she does it she performs her new trick three more times, decides that's enough, and she doesn't do it again until she's a year old! Meanwhile, James is a boy obsessed. He constantly flips over - even when I put him down for a nap. He cries out at night because he sleep-flips and doesn't know how he got that way or how to flip back. One time James was so fixated on flipping he did it while drinking his bottle and didn't understand why milk wouldn't come out while he was laying on his tummy.

Julia's pre-flip over ballet pose. (7 months)

Diapering James is crazy between him trying to flip over, the solid food poops, and fighting off his hand which wants to grab "Li'l James." Sometimes I wish I could hog-tie him. Julia is less mobile, but even more wriggly on the changing table! And their monthly posed photos used to be so simple. Now it's like herding cats. I'll put James down and he'll flip over before I can get the camera.

This is a more recent photo but shows how hard taking pictures of them can be. Julia's already flipped over before we can snap the picture. (15 months)

Pre-Crawling and Crawling
Julia hates tummy time and often ends up with a mouthful of blanket. James, on the other hand, can't get enough of it. On 6/17 he starts doing a self-created exercise in 10 second spurts (we call it "swimming") where his feet move really fast (but his body goes nowhere) and then he pushes himself up and looks at me proudly for approval (see the video). And then he does it all over again. Since April, James has loved to kick when he's happy. Mark says James's legs rubbing together will start a fire.

A rare happy moment of tummy time for Drool-ia. (6 months)

In mid-June James likes to do 180 degree turns while trying to crawl, but he doesn't move forward. By the end of July, James can really travel but we're not sure how. He doesn't exactly crawl, but he does flip and rotate to get around. By 8/5 he can pull himself around slowly, and the next day Papa gets James to crawl 3 feet by putting an empty milk bottle in front of him. The following day he crawls all over the living room.

James paints crawls himself into a corner. (9 months)

My friend Leslie M. describes James's movement as an army crawl, and when she returns to visit less than a week later she notes how he's even gotten better. James crawls over Leslie M.'s legs a week later (a first), and goes from crawling position to sitting (also a first). By mid-late August James can really move. Sometimes he gets caught in a corner of the activity gym and drags it around with him.

Don't hook a leg around that activity gym, James! (6 months)

In late June/early July the babies can sit up fairly well, but we continue to prop up pillows all around them to protect against the occasional spill. By the beginning of August, Julia is happy to sit up by herself and play.

James sitting on his own with some extra protection. (6 1/2 months)

Julia sits with Papa. (8 months)