Sunday, August 24, 2008

Duct Tape

You're right, Becky, most parents don't have to resort to duct-taping their children's diapers! But then again, most parents don't have four two-year-olds! I didn't come up with this idea on my own, by the way! Would you believe I got it from another set of quads? The McNulty quads, being much more prone to poop-painting than us, have been taped for ages! And no, you don't have to cut it off with scissors. You just rip it right off!

If any of you parents out there are considering duct tape for your own children, here are some things I have learned that may be of use to you:

1. Duct tape is not good for skin. You have to be really careful to tape only the diaper. The kids were so wiggly at first, that we folded part of the tape over to make a thinner belt. That made it a lot easier to put on without getting any on their wiggly skin. Unfortunately, they soon figured out that it also made it a lot easier to get off!

2. Really good duct tape will rip a diaper to shreds when you try to take it off. Cheap duct tape will leave most diapers intact because it is so easy to remove. In fact, it's easy enough for a two-year-old to remove. After trying out both kinds, we have opted for the diaper-shredding type. After all, if the two-year-old can remove the belt, what's the point of having it in the first place?

3. Some diapers fare better against the duct tape than others. So far we have belted Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs. The Huggies have held up better than the other two brands, but they rip too. Oh, well. It's not like we're going to use them again!

Luckily, our kids only take their diapers off when they are supposed to be sleeping, so belts are only worn at night and during naps. I'm grateful we don't have to belt every single diaper!

Any other questions?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Impressive Skills

Okay, remember the post about Jonathan's diaper removing tendencies? (Double Diaper Duty) Well, one morning I came in to get the kids out of bed and found Jonathan's diaper in the floor BUT HE WAS STILL FULLY CLOTHED!! The pajama pants were still on, the backwards pajamas were still on, but the diaper was magically NOT. He had somehow managed to get it off and pull it out through a leg hole! (Impressive skill #1)

That afternoon, after nap, there were THREE diapers in the floor, everyone's but Thomas'.

So that night we had to get even more creative...

Jonathan sports the latest in toddler fashion

The first night of duct tape, Reagan and Zachary both cried when we put it on. But it worked! The next day, for naptime, the mere idea of the duct tape was enough to keep them both diapered. Actually, the threat of duct tape worked on those two for a good long while. Jim managed to convince Jonathan that the tape was a belt "just like Daddy's" and so he was fine with wearing it, excited even! Belt! Belt!

By the time Thomas decided diaper removal seemed like a good idea, R and Z joined back in and were no longer intimidated by the tape. Everybody loves their belt!

Zachary, Thomas, and Reagan

So, you may be wondering...whatever happened to all that talk about potty training? (See 480) Well, I haven't given up on the idea yet. I still plan to give it a shot before cold weather sets in. However, first we have to deal with impressive skill #2...

The first day they needed something to stand on to get into the Pack 'N Plays, but the very next day they figured out how to do it with no help at all, and the day after that they figured out how to get back out, although they'd rather just cry and whine until you do it for them. All four children can now climb in and out of the Pack 'N Plays at will. So far it hasn't been a problem during naptime or bedtime. Somehow, they always stay in! (At least as far as I know!) But all other times of the day, it's just a free-for-all! They aren't very graceful most of the time in either direction. They scale the top and then plummet, crashing to the ground. If they survive the fall, it demolition time! Too much more of this and the poor PnP's will be completely destroyed!
Please try to ignore Jonathan still whining in the background of the next video.

And so the time has come for us to put away our baby beds and make the move to big kid beds! Once we have adequately conquered this transition, then we'll give potty training a try. So stay tuned! The beds are coming!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Two Year Olds

Well, it's been a long time coming, but here it is...the second half of two year checkups. Jonathan and Zachary had their two year checkups on their birthday (to read about that click HERE), but Reagan and Thomas did not go until a month later.

They had a great checkup and everything looks good for both of them! Reagan weighed 27lb 4oz (65%) and was 33.9 in tall (50%). Thomas weighed 26lb 4oz (30%) and was 33.5in tall (25%).

This is a shot of our growth chart at the house. It's not as acurate as the dr's measurements, but it makes a great visual comparison.

I doubt any of you have been living in dire suspense to know any of that information, but for the sake of continuity I needed to include it!

Two weeks later, Jonathan went to the dr for a follow-up visit to check on his weight gain progress. We've been doing our best to increase his caloric intake and beef that boy up. It had been 6 weeks since his checkup, and he went from 21lb 8oz to 22lb 8oz! So he gained a whole pound! So that was good! But the dr is still concerned and would like him to gain more. Molly told us that if his weight does not increase at a normal rate, it could stunt his height later on. Obviously, we don't want that to happen!

So Wed we went to see a nutritionist who gave us some really good concrete guidelines, advice, and recipes for increasing his calories, some of which we can do for him without doing it for the others and none of them will ever know! We go back for another weight check at the end of the month. I'll keep you posted!

And now the fun part...what are the kids doing now that they are two?

Well, the biggest thing is talking! They talk and talk and talk. I don't always know what they are saying, but they definitely do. One of them will say something unintelligible, and I will ask them to say it again because I didn't understand it, and he will repeat the same unintelligible sounds, so he obviously KNOWS what he is saying. He is saying SOMETHING. Unfortunately, I don't always know what it is. But a lot of the time I do, and that is really fun! I love to hear them talk! I love every new word they learn. Reagan still has a smaller vocabulary than the boys, but she is learning new words every day.

There has been video of Thomas saying everyone's name (see HERE). Now they are all doing it, even Reagan finally. For the longest, she called all the boys Yaya. (Similarly, Zachary called everybody "Abby") She still does that sometimes, but she will also say their names more distinctively, especially Thomas'. The kids all pretty much call Thomas "Tommy". It's easier to say, I guess. Occasionally we'll get a "Taw bus" which is pretty close. They all pronounce Jonathan something like "Jaw-hen" and Reagan like "Way-hen" or sometimes "Way gen". Zachary, on the other hand, can apparently be pronounced many ways. Thomas prefers "Zak-ee," Jonathan and Reagan tend to say "Sassy," and Zachary himself says "Sa-say." It's very cute, whatever they say! I love it when one looks around the room, registers that a particular sibling is missing, and asks where that sibling is by name! Amazing!

They can build great towers with blocks. They can put together puzzles. They like to play catch, although they aren't very good at it. They are starting to request songs by name, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" being the current favorite. They argue over which TV show we are gong to watch and can name their favorite characters. They can identify a spatula and a colander and know the difference between a pot and a pan. (I like to unload the dishwasher while they finish eating and I always name off and count all the dishes as I put them away) They are learning colors and numbers and letters of the alphabet.

They are just amazing!

They have a couple of other new impressive skills, but this post is getting kind of long, so I'm going to save them. Stay tuned!

But I'll leave you with this video. It's a little long, but I don't think you'll mind. It's THAT good!Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let Me Get the Camera First!

I was in the kitchen making dinner recently. The kids were in the living room watching The Backyardigans. (These two rooms join, for those of you who have never been to our house.) I'm minding my own business when I finally realize that Jonathan is repeating the same word over and over again. He's still in the living room, but I can hear him plainly saying over and over, "Tuck...tuck...tuck." He's not crying. He's not yelling. He's simply calmly repeating this word to himself. My curiosity gets the better of me, and I go to see what he's talking about because I'm not sure what "tuck" means.

When I see him, I know instantly what "tuck" means. He looks up at me for assistance, and I tell him I will help him, but I just need to take his picture first, and I go get the camera.

He was "stuck." That's what he was saying over and over. It would have been my guess, since I knew they weren't watching The Wonder Pets (one of the characters is named Tuck). But I couldn't imagine that he actually WAS stuck because he seemed so unconcerned about it. When he's stuck, he usually yells it, "Tuck! Tuck! Tuuuuuck!" Also, one of his siblings would have normally come running into the kitchen to jabber something at me that might have contained the recognizable words "Jonathan" (Jaw-hen) and "stuck" (tuck). From this I might have pieced together the fact that Jonathan was stuck somewhere. But they weren't paying him any attention, which proves the lack of concern Jonathan had in his state of immobility.

I guessed he wasn't in pain, and he just figured if he said it enough, someone would happen along to help him out. I don't know, but it was funny!

It Just Makes Me Happy

We have been blessed with a lot of hand-me-downs. And thank you to everyone who has generously lent or given us clothes! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! What a tremendous help it has been! However, since most of our clothes have come from other people, they rarely show up in coordinating sets. And I don't need them to! Don't get me wrong! I don't need the kids to coordinate all the time. I'm fine with their outfits not coordinating! Please don't stop giving us your hand-me-downs because the outfits don't come in sets!

BUT I do get excited when the outfits passed down from completely unrelated children just happen to work out to make a set of clothes that at least sort of go together. For example, I have a set of three Hawaiian shirts for the boys. They don't look alike, but they are all Hawaiian shirts and that makes me smile.

So I was thrilled one Sunday morning as I was picking out clothes for church to discover that I had an outfit for each child that had some sort of sea creature on it! Hooray!

Jonathan and his big blue whale

Okay, I realize you can't actually see the sea creature on Zachary's outfit. You'll have to trust me and believe that there really is an orange sea horse on the left leg of this outfit. He was not a cooperative picture-taker that day.

They're hard to see, but there are turtles on Reagan's dress. And no, we didn't wear this hat to church, she just really likes it. It's a hand-me-down too, by the way!

Thomas and his bright green octopus

It's the little things, right? This is a little thing, but when it happens it just makes me happy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

More Outdoor Fun

When they aren't swinging or dumping sand in their hair, the kids like to chase each other around the yard. They can be hilarious to watch! It makes me so, SO glad that we now have a fenced-in yard for them to play in! I can't imagine trying to confine them to the patio like we did last fall or only going outside when there were extra adults around to help keep the kids safe like we did last summer. Playing outside would just be impossible without the fence. I'd have to yell at them all the time to stay here, don't go there, come back! I'd be angry when they didn't listen and yell at them for that. I'd be exhausted from chasing them down and dragging them back to safety. Basically there would be a lot of yelling and not a lot of freedom and very little fun for them or me. Nothing like the good times we enjoy now!

Here's some video of the kids running and chasing. Again Reagan finds herself at the bottom of a dogpile (I swear she isn't always the victim!) but notice how she tosses ALL THREE boys off to escape! That girl is strong!

THOMAS Needs Sand!

Our neighbor Liz gave the kids an Elmo sprinkler for their birthday. They are still a little unsure sometimes about sprinklers, but like this one because it very small-scale and they can get away from the water easily if they want to.

A note about their clothes: We took these pictures on a Sunday afternoon. I had changed Reagan out of her dress, but left the boys in their church clothes. These aren't outfits I would normally let them get wet and sandy in! It's just the way it happened.

Look! Jonathan's touching Elmo!

Reagan, least in love with the sprinkler, stayed the driest

But the best picture of the day had nothing to do with the sprinkler. We had finally gotten some sand for the sand/water table, and the kids LOVE playing with it. However, they (and Thomas in particular) are very messy with it. It's a little hard to see here, but if you look closely you can see sand in Thomas' hair, on his nose, and all over the top of his shirt!

Thomas dumps and flings sand everywhere. One day after playing outside, I took him to change his diaper and when I pulled his shorts off sand poured out everywhere! His pockets were full of it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Teacher Friends

Recently we have been visited by some of my former colleagues and their children. It's always so good to see them and watch our kids play together, or at least play near each other! We love the company and the change to our normal routine.

First Stephanie and Knox came to play and it was cool enough that we could go outside and enjoy the backyard. Added bonus: Knox brought a story that he had written and illustrated just for the kids.

Then Angie and Abby came for a visit. They loved having a new playmate close to their age. Abby is several months younger, but an excellent walker, so she kept up with them pretty well! Added bonus: They stayed for lunch! It was a table more full of babies than usual!

Last, Desiree and Morgan came to play. The kids had a BLAST chasing Morgan through the house! And I had a blast sitting on the couch, chatting with Desiree, and watching them rum back and forth! Added bonus: A birthday present with a beautiful card that Morgan made herself!

Thanks everybody for coming to see us!

Who Needs Sand?

For the kids' birthday, Michelle got them a sand and water table. Here are a few pics of the kids playing with it before we had any sand. They didn't seem to mind! They loved it!

clockwise from noonish: Jonathan, Thomas, Reagan, Zachary

Jonathan learns to master a bucket and shovel

Reagan discovers the cool things gravity can do

I wonder what this thing does?

Thomas figured it out

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I Scream! You Scream!

We All Scream for Ice Cream!!!!

Here are a few fun pics of the kids the first time we gave them ice cream cones. They had had ice cream in bowls before, which everyone but Zachary had enjoyed. I don't think he liked it because it was cold...and wet. He has food issues. Nevertheless, even Zachary loved the ice cream cones!

This is the best thing EVER!!


Hmmm...creamy, chocolaty...I can eat the container and no one yells about it...yes, I believe I like this new treat!


What do you mean I didn't like it last time?


Mr. Neat-and-Tidy Jonathan finished his with barely a drop on his shirt!

It's okay, Momma, I'm sure my white shirt will be good as new!

(Several washes and lots of Shout later, you almost can't see the stain...almost)

...and this is where we stand to eat our ice cream...

Uh, mine's almost gone...what are you going to do about that?