So our girls turned 12months adjusted age a few weeks ago! This is exciting on many levels, but the coolest part is that they’re no longer compared to kids 3 months younger than them on the growth charts. That’s right. They’re rollin with the BIG KIDS now. Compared to other 15 month-olds, Nora is now kickin ass and takin names at the 25 percentile, and Bryn is kickin exactly 3 percent of those 15 month olds’ asses. We’ll take it, baby girl!
Hitting the one-year-from-when-they-were-supposed-to-be-born mark also meant their first annual NICU follow up appointment. When we walked into the testing room and saw 2 little tables and 2 little chairs, Nick and I just about busted a gut–did they really expect them to SIT in CHAIRS at TABLES and take TESTS?? Bahahaha. Our visions of Bryn playing endless table-peekaboo and Nora trying to flip the chairs over like a mini WWE wrestler were quickly silenced by…. our 2 babies sitting at the tables and taking tests for 30 minutes–like tiny little grown-ups. There might be nothing cuter.
After that magical 30 minutes, not surprisingly, Nora went rogue with the testing materials. She even yanked her socks off first as if to give us all fair warning (or maybe because she wanted better traction for her stunts).
We tried to get Bryn some extra points by showing the therapists this video, but no dice:
Both girls checked out at about 12 months in all their developmental areas (fine & gross motor, language, cognition, ability to exhaust their parents, etc), which was amazing news, and we are humbly aware that not all preemies are as fortunate. We were super surprised after the testing to have The Famous Dr. Hoekstra, Children’s Neonatal Physician extraordinaire, evaluate the girls.
Thankfully, our girls were never “critical” enough during their NICU stay to warrant a visit from Dr. Hoekstra, but after spending 3 months there, we had heard his legendary name a few hundred times and seen pictures of his tiny NICU patients and their accompanying (healthy!) senior photos lining the long hallway we walked daily to go see the girls. He also wrote this amazing book,
that completely changed our view of the preemie world and the medical professionals who care for these tiny humans. How often is it that a doctor walks into your exam room and starts off by telling you that your children’s great health and development is a testament to the power of God’s love, even though he’s dedicated his life to doctoring sick babies, and probably ALL of his patients’ families consider him a miracle worker? Huge chunks of this blog are dedicated to extolling the virtues of the NICU and the doctors and nurses who cared for our tiny nuggets outside the womb, when they should have been inside it for 3 more months. But Dr. H never once mentioned any of this during our leisurely, warm, not-at-all-like-a-doctor’s-appointment, appointment. He talked about how excited he was to finally meet the girls, made “famous” amongst the neonatologists from their appearance at the Star Gala, asked if we would take HIS picture with HIS iPhone holding Nora and Bryn, and said he couldn’t wait to see them again in a year. He showed us pictures of a wedding he recently went to of one of his NICU patients who was born at 24 weeks (25 years ago!) and talked about his son who’s a teacher like us, and how he has so much respect for teachers. I’m sure he doesn’t have a lot of play time to keep up with patient blogs, but we’ll go ahead and apologize for this not-so-awesome picture we’re posting of him here–I used all my good iPhone photographer talent on the one I took with his phone I guess–gah!
We also got to celebrate the girls’ second Halloween this year. Their first one was a little different than this one, so we were really excited to get them dressed up (and Nick was really excited to eat all their candy). Grandma W hooked them up with some practice costumes that they wore to the Halloween Parade at the Mall of America.
And also contributed several pieces of our costume brainchild for this year (which in hindsight, may have been a little overzealous for 15 month olds). Here’s what it was SUPPOSED to look like:
We had higher hopes for the homemade walkers,
but they were clearly not built to code, and resulted in several crashes in the test drive phase, and an eventual refusal to use them come Halloween night. No big deal. They were easy to carry around the neighborhood in addition to 20lb babies wearing dresses 3 sizes too big, while trying to pick up the foam rollers they were pulling out of their hair and tossing all over the street.
The girls have enjoyed their first fall OUTDOORS. With our doctor’s recommendation that we keep them semi-quarantined for one more flu season (sob), we’ve been pretty much living outside, even if it’s meant we’ve had to wear our bear suits.
Bathtime in the big tub has become quite the adventure, and we’ve somehow managed to avoid any concussions thus far. We usually start out each session with a reminder lecture on the importance of staying seated in the tub, especially since when we walk on DRY LAND we’re about as steady as little drunk monkeys.
Nora is like a bath addict, and is drawn to the water like a drunk monkey to banana schnapps.
I’m happy to report that we’re slowly getting better at Peekaboo.
I’ll close with this video. Somebody get this girl some glowsticks.
PS–one more video.
We wouldn’t need the big, scary animal Dyson if you weren’t such dirty little animals.
Hello, it’s me again– Nick, Sara’s hunk of man love. Yes, I know that I have taken a slight hiatus from writing, but hopefully this post can explain why. Since going back to teaching this fall, my brain no longer works after 7:00pm, which just happens to be the time we put the girls to bed. Oh by the way, the girls are doing great with their sleeping! They of course decided to start sleeping through the night again on our first day back to work. Thank you girls, for once again reminding us who is in charge here. Anyway, since my brain no longer works after 7:00 anymore it makes it really hard to sit down and write a blog post. Honestly if I did, it would sound something like this… I picked up toys. That’s about as far as I could get before sleep would slap me in the face. Today however, I feel different because I took an afternoon nap with the girls and I feel amazing.
Since I am well rested and don’t feel that I need to be sleeping before 8:30, I figured I could write about the girls a little bit. My goodness, do I love these little animals. It’s kind of crazy! I of course love their mom more, but my heart lives outside of my body for these amazing girls. These two little nuggets still control my heart. I love making them smile, feeding them, running with them, pushing them on the swings and just playing with them. I just love being a dad! It’s a lot of hard work, but as any parent of non colicky children knows, it’s totally worth it. I was a colicky child and I still think that my mom harbors some ill will towards me when she talks about my first year of life. Her face gets all red and she starts talking out of the side of her mouth. You know that the pain is pretty deep when you see anyone talk out of the side of their mouth. You might want to look into getting some help for that, mom. I can however say, that I am very grateful that my cousin Nate Windschitl was worse than me because that is the only thing that softens her attitude on the topic. She always starts talking out of her mouth in a normal way when she says, “I guess it could have been worse. Nate was just awful! I just don’t know how Windy and Donna had Brady after having Nate. That boy would just scream the entire time that we were there. Thank you, Nate, for being worse. Side note, Nate is one heck of a financial planner. If you find out you’re having twins, call Nate, and he will advise you on what to do with all the extra money you’re (not) going to have.
What was I going to write about? Oh yeah, playing with the girls. I just love it! Our girls have a ton of toys. We’ve got a lot of cool shit. Pretend iphones and iPads, things that light up, beep, bounce, roll. We’ve got toys that do all of that at the same time. Those toys are super annoying, but if I was a 14-month-old, I would love them. We have a million books that I am super glad our girls are interested in, but right now they are really not interested in any of the cool, light up, beeping, bouncing, rolling toys. No, our girls like paper, boxes, spoons, spatulas and of course anything else they shouldn’t, like plastic bags, outlets, the water in the toilet,
anything that we think is out of reach to them AND one final thing… My nipples. I feel weird talking about this, but if I’m ever laying on the floor or pick the girls up and I am shirtless, I am almost guaranteed to get one of the most painful titty twisters possible. I mean, can you blame them for wanting to play with these?
You wouldn’t think that little girls would be capable of such excruciating pain but they are. I have flashbacks to the 8th grade boys locker room and guarding my nipples like a prison guard at Alcatraz. I don’t know if this is normal for other dads but it is for me because like I said, If I come in contact with them shirtless, both of them instinctively go straight for my nips. You would also think that I would have learned from my previous horrors, but each time I simply think that I will be able to push their tiny hands away and outsmart a 14-month-old. Yet I fail each time. They are so cunning and sneaky! They have even tag teamed me a number of times when I have been on the floor. Nora will distract me by pulling my hair and then Bryn will pull a sneak attack on my nips.
I guess I will never know exactly why they do this, but I am hoping that this is a phase that will soon pass. It’s cute to see them play with pots and pans, but I can’t wait for them to pay more attention to their toys AND leave my nipples the hell alone!
Here are some of the latest pics of my nipple-crazy ladies.
Bryn kicking ass and taking names at the indoor playground. Yeah, that’s a 2 year old she’s schooling.
Here’s a minute and a half of the best belly laughs you’ve ever heard.
And an hour’s worth of a Sunday afternoon (condensed into a minute for your own sanity).
Couple exciting things N&B wanted to add that hadn’t quite materialized at last press time.
The girls are little lighter than they were yesterday–that’s right–HAIRCUTS! We strolled their little mop tops down the road a couple blocks to a neighbor who cuts hair.
Having never taken a child for a haircut before, we didn’t realize how grossly unprepared we were for the experience. Poor Jess earned her keep yesterday, chasing babies around her lawn with a pair of shears and snipping locks from whichever baby was closest/stillest/not screaming.
Several times she ran into her own house for some of her own kids’ toys (yeah…we forgot to bring toys), snacks (duh…why didn’t we think of that), and even pulled up PBS Kids videos on her iPhone (genius) while Nick and I stood there worthless, wondering who let us become parents. Oh, and we even forgot to bring something to put the girls’ little hair snippets in (what?!) . Luckily some of our other neighbor friends had come out to witness Jess running around the yard pruning our babies like Edward Scissor Hands, and one of them took pity on us and went and grabbed us a couple ziplocs.
Scroll to minute 1:06…yep, that’s about right:
I love that you can see Bryn’s hair flying around in this one.
In MUCH bigger news, Nora and Bryn were super stoked to welcome their little cousin, Parker Roy Hansen, into the world last Friday!
N & B (along with mom, dad, and a carry-on full of baby benedryl) will be taking their first flight to Tucson to meet this little cutie at Thanksgiving. “Meet” is probably a pretty tame verb to use there–it will definitely be more like “grab chunks of face flesh and squeeze really hard, then lose interest and start looking for toilet bowl cleaner in their under-sink cabinets.” You know. A true family vacation. On the upside, we’ll be helping them childproof their house long before it will actually be necessary (Merry Christmas, you two), and they’ll have 2 little Goldilocks to sleep in his pack and play, eat in his high chair, and play with baby bear’s toys. Break it all in. Now if we can just convince them to spring for the double jogging stroller now, (…in anticipation of baby Hansen #2, of course…) then we’ll be all set.
In closing, we should probably document here (since this IS N&B’s baby book), that we had our first bath tub sanitation incident tonight. Yep, that’s right–we had to go fishin’ for brown trout. Nora, Bryn–we’re not sure which one of you released it (it was actually more like a school of brown minnows), but it happened. And it was gross. And you’re both grounded.
So it’s September, which means our amazing summer adventures with the girls have come to an end. Nick and I are back to work teaching other people’s kids now, but counted our blessings each of the 68 days we got to spend with Nora and Bryn this summer. Being away from them all day now is tough, but coming home to this everyday is pretty much the best. sight. ever. The girls got to spend our first few days back at work with both sets of grand-nannies, who followed the rules completely, and didn’t give them any refined sugar, screen time, or otherwise spoil them rotten. At their 12 month check up, after little painless, vaccination-filled butterflies kissed their thighs, the ped told us that Bryn was gaining so well we should get her on an exercise program. We went with a classic Fonda routine. Ok, kidding. Bryn is still truckin along at like the 3rd percentile. But the ped was thrilled with both girls’ growth. Nora was about 17lbs and Bryn was about 14, but Nora took a giant poo right after, like some kind of high school wrestler after a pre-match weigh-in, so we don’t think the gap is quite as big as the scale says. Just to keep their BMIs in check, Nick (single-handedly!) took the girls to an indoor playground one day after I went back to work. Nora quickly established herself as the playground bully, pushing kids to the side as she crawled the wrong way up the slide. Bryn distracted all the bullied kids’ moms by crawling into their laps and doing her new signature Miss America wave, complete with elbow and wrist action, making the moms swoon and check Nick’s left hand, hoping he was some kind of single, twin-dad hero. Back off, ladies, This one’s all mine. Speaking of heroes, remember those heroes at Ronald McDonald House that fed us for 3 months while the girls were still in the NICU last summer? Well, we always said we’d be back to pay it forward when we finally made it to the other side. And here we are, a year removed from that crazy, harrowing beginning, finally getting a chance to stand on the other side of the counter and hand a meal to families that are in the same shoes we were a year ago. Thank you RMH! We even met a couple whose 27 weeker twins were in the NICU–but they lived in ALEXANDRIA–hours away. The 15 minute drive back and forth to Children’s that we did twice a day for 98 days all of a sudden didn’t seem that bad. Wow.
Our last days of summer were spent naked in the front yard (the babes, not us). doing WWE-style twin smackdowns and going out nightly for “walking happy hours” (open containers included) with all the twins in a 2 block radius. (Yep, that’s right. There are 3 sets). When it got too hot outside and we needed an air conditioned field trip, we headed to Target to cruise around in their amazing made-for-twins carts. I swore these were mythical creatures that the moms on my Moms of Multiples club Facebook page only fantasized about. But low and behold, they finally made their way to our neighborhood Target! We used to do our shopping like this but that was SOO July 2013. Now we now shop big-girl style. This new upright position is also much more conducive to Bryn’s Miss America wave (which is also a mythical creature that disappears everytime we whip out a camera).
As they become more and more mobile, N & B continue to explore their surroundings (read: get into shit), despite our (really really horrible attempts at) childproofing. Seriously–we supervise our children–we swear. They’re just so damn fast!
We’ve also let them start snacking in the exersaucers, so finding 2 day old rogue cheerios has become an exciting new game. For an added challenge, they like to go for the ones that have been chewed up, spit out, and are now cemented to the bottom of the exersaucer.
Speaking of food, the girls’ daily menu now consists of 3 meals and 4 bottles. They will pretty much eat anything, but one of their favorite foods is Grampa Greg’s pickles!
3 words: HA. LE. LUJAH.
Another big milestone hit this month was taking baths in the big tub (yeah…we milked that infant tub as long as we could–13 months!).
And speaking of hair, ours is getting pretty out of control. We’ve been waffling on whether or not to cut it–it still seems so short??–but little baby mullets seem to be taking shape, so it might be time.
Both girls have been experimenting with language, trying to decide what their first words and signs will be. Bryn has decided her first word will be in ASL. She has added her signature Miss America flair to “ALL DONE” and uses it all. the. time.
Nora chose English as the language of her first word. And while Nick and I BOTH KNOW her first word was “mama,” spoken clear as day in the car on the way home from church last week, of course (to Nick’s delight), this was the only thing we caught on camera:
Whelp, time to go finish the cabinet lock installation. Which began last week. And almost ended our marriage. There’s got to be an easier design out there somewhere. Two models later, the interior of our cabinet looks like swiss cheese and if the girls double team it, they can still get at the Windex with relative ease.
PS: I’ll leave you with this:
It’s been 365 days, 2,952 bottles, 5,110 diapers and 973 hours attached to a breast pump (what?! really wish I hadn’t just done that math…) since Nora and Bryn graced us with their tiny presence 13 weeks early. It’s a story we’ll never forget.
It’s kind of amazing that there was still time in there for all the milestones they’ve hit–going from 1 tsp of milk per day to 25oz per day, doubling their body weight 3 times, houdini-ing out of a swaddle, making it through flu season as a preemie unscathed, rolling, crawling, standing, doing this:
We’ve gone from full-on quarantine to twin play dates
And our former 1lb 4oz and 2lb nuggets are crawling all over the place and climbing up on eVerYtHinG. Nora has figured out how to get down from a standing position, but Bryn hasn’t, which really pisses her off.
Holding them both these days is a little different than it used to be.
We’re holding/eating our own food (but still not bottles, !()*^&!)
And the girls recently started their own band (it’s called The Twinschitls).
This past month we spent some time at the cabin. The goal for mom and dad was to relax, but we ended up spending most of our time trying to childproof everything. N & B were in heaven–look at all this new sh!t to get into! BeSt vAcaTiON EvEr!
Nick and I are really horrible childproofers, and it’s amazing we’ve been able to keep 2 babies alive for a year. Everyone says the best way to childproof your house is to get down on the floor so you can see your house from a baby’s point of view. Whenever we try this, however, we wake up an hour later with carpet marks on our faces, only to find Nora licking knives in the dishwasher and Bryn reprogramming our DVR with her mouth. So most of our childproofing efforts are the result of finding a baby about to lose limb or get electrocuted as opposed to preemptive fixes.
The grandparents continue to spoil the girls, which to Grampa Hansen means giving them only the best microbrews.
I, however, felt it was more appropriate to bring the girls’ milkshake machine along for the ride (say what?! there’s a cigarette lighter on the boat?!).
The girls also attended their first Twins game this month!
They kept whining that they were bored, so mom and dad tried to hook them up with the Mauer girls.
Well, while Joe was up at bat, he looked up in the stands, saw our sign, snapped his sexy fingers, and had us escorted to his private suite. His girls had just been born a few days earlier and were still in the hospital, so no play date yet, but he gave us free food and beer to tide us over until we all can be united and start our lifelong friendships. True story!
first public skinny dip,
their own phones,
gettin busted at nap time
and asserting their independence.
Of course, the pinnacle of the past few weeks was the girls’ first birthday!
We’ve come a long way from this, haven’t we!?
We can’t believe the support and love you all have given Nora, Bryn and us this past year. In some ways it has seemed long and in some ways it’s flown by, but we are so thankful that we had you along for the ride.
I’ll leave you with baby giggles:
PS–Fifteen year old Bryn, calm down–I realize all the videos in this post are of Nora, but we’re up at Breezy Point and we left the camera with all your stuff on it at home. We still love you. =)
Ahh Summer… We are now officially half way through it. No I don’t want to see your facebook pictures of school supplies going on sale. That’s just insane! I’ve gotta say, Sara, the girls and I have done a ton of really fun stuff, surpassing a lot of our expectations. That being said, there have been more than a few things that we were not expecting and that have NOT surpassed our expectations.
One of which is Nora’s sleeping, or shall I say lack thereof.
Honestly, by this point we thought that she would have reverted back to sleeping through the night, which she established very early on. Bryn continues to sleep uninterrupted while Nora yells and climbs the rails of her crib at 3:45 am. These moments really suck! Which brings me to my main point: If someone comes up to me while on a walk, checking out at the grocery store, or any of the countless other places where I am with the twins and they say, “Cherish every moment with your babies,” I may just turn around and slap them. Seriously, full on slap.—I haven’t decided whether it will be an open or closed hand yet. I’m going to think on that one still. Okay I wouldn’t slap the grannies because they are so darn cute, but everyone else is fair game.
The only thing I can think of at night when Nora is almost inconsolable are these “cherish every moment” comments. Now, I realize that Sara and I are not the only ones who receive these comments. I’m sure this is something that all parents receive, but guess what? I will not cherish the 12:30am wakeup call followed by the 3:45am wakeup call. It’s summer and I thought I would be getting more sleep, not less. As I attempt to rock Nora back to sleep, unsuccessfully I might add, I think about how I might respond when someone tells me to “cherish every moment” again. Here a few of my ideas:
- “Go f yourself.”
- “Seriously, you are so full of shit, do you honestly believe that you cherished every moment?”
- “Go f yourself.”
- “Oh, I will cherish most of the moments but not all of them.”
That one is the tamest, yet I cannot even bring myself to say it because it implies that there is something wrong with me. It gives the “cherish every moment” people more fuel. I can hear their rebuttals now, “Oh you’ve just gotta cherish every moment, because they grow up so fast.” I imagine myself standing there and feeling like a jerk. I can hear myself right now responding with, “Yeah, they do grow up fast” and imagine myself feeling a little bit stupid too. I wouldn’t be quick enough to respond with anything worthy because, remember, I’ve had two early morning wakeup calls and I can barely think.
What I normally do in these moments is simply respond with this face.
Notice my raised eyebrows and titled head which are saying, “really?” Also noticed my pursed lips and face, which say, “f yourself.” This is just a lot easier and it’s the passive aggressive “Minnesota” way. Maybe I just respond with “yes,” and give them a link to this blog post? That actually sounds like the best idea.
So yeah, the sleep thing hasn’t been the greatest, but I totally understand that 99% of parents deal with this. There are definitely different levels, but almost all of us face it. For those of you that have babies that sleep through the night, please refer to the picture above and be aware that if you talk about your perfectly sleeping babies you may get a slap in the face because NOBODY wants to hear it.
Since sleep seems to be the theme of this blog I’m going to continue to roll with it. I’ve been doing something very strange yet consistent in my sleep for the last 3 months and I don’t know what to do about it. Okay, so almost every night I wake up completely freaked out. Actually it’s more of a panic. Here is how this situation unfolds. I wake up from a very drowsy sleep and believe that I am sleeping with one of the girls. We don’t normally allow the girls to sleep in our bed, but if one of them wakes up early, but not too early, and we want to rest a bit more, we attempt to lay with them in our bed. Don’t judge me. Anyway I wake up and have my arms around what I believe is Nora. In my mind, this baby that I am protecting is clearly Nora because she seems bigger. I dose on and off like this from about 12:00am to 12:45. At 12:45 I wake up in a panic because I realize that I am no longer holding Nora, but Sara. In my mind, Nora MUST be in this bed somewhere! Is she at the foot of the bed? Is Sara laying on her? AM I LAYING ON HER? Thus ensues the full on panic where I rip apart the bed in search of Nora. Most of the time I just get up and pat down the entire bed, Sara included. I frisk Sara and do everything except a cavity check, which I assume she is happy about. However, on one occasion I stripped the bed clean, picked up all of the sheets and blankets and moved them very gently to the floor where I unfolded each blanket like a surgeon handling a patient during operation—I am never more gentle with anything than in these moments (moments I might add, I would like to forget ever happened). Meanwhile, as I opened up all of the blankets on the floor, Sara reaffirmed that the girls were in their cribs. Maybe reaffirmed isn’t the best word. It’s was more like yelling at me. “Nick, the girls are in their cribs! They are sleeping! Look at the monitor!” What Sara doesn’t realize is that for the last hour, I was fully invested in the idea that Nora was sleeping with us and that she just didn’t know. What I continue to fail to realize is that Nora was never in the bed. That “baby” that I was holding the entire time was actually my “true love” baby named Sara Windschitl. As cute as that sounds, and good brownie points by anyone else’s standards, Sara is getting really pissed off with my nighttime routine. She isn’t getting much sleep either so she very much doesn’t need my continued antics. We often “role play” this scenario, like good teachers, before bed and I tell myself over and over that we would never bring our babies into the bed in the middle of the night, but nothing seems to work. I know that I am not the only one that does this. One of my friends who also has Twins (Matt Wilde–also with 27 week preemie girls–check them out http://emilyhannahtwins.wordpress.com/) does a much more tame version of this. All of you that know me understand that I always go big, even in these situations.
Okay, so if you have any advice for me please let me know. I kind of need to kick this or Sara might take to kicking me.
Thanks for your continued support of our girls! Thus far it has been a fantastic summer. Here are few of my favorite moments. The moments that I choose to cherish.
Dear 18 year old Nora,
When you were 10 1/2 months old, you got a nasty stomach bug and puked everywhere for about a week. Not once did we manage to catch any of your epic pukes on camera that week (it just seemed cruel at the time). But 2 weeks later, when you had us convinced you were fine (by gaining back 1lb 2 oz in 2 weeks and eating like an absolute animal), we got cocky and fed you an entire banana and then a huge bottle of milk. And then you did this:
First of all, we’d like to thank you for yaking on daddy and the couch instead of our freshly shampooed carpet. Second of all, we want you to know how hard it is to suction banana chunks out of a screaming 10 month old’s nose. And finally, we’d like to apologize for putting your screaming, banana-covered self in a laundry basket for 10 minutes while we tried to figure out how to move your banana-laden father from the couch to the laundry room without dripping baby banana smoothie on the carpet. But the real reason we’re apologizing for putting you in the laundry basket against your will, is because while we were trying to contain your banana puke and protect our freshly shampooed carpet, Bryn was also puking. On the carpet.
So, yeah–sorry about that. In hindsight, we should have just let you both roam free and puke. Our bad.
Mom & Dad