The featured blogger this week is Johanna of The Baker Twins! Johanna and her girls, Camden and Grayden and nothing short of absolutely adorable! After you read her interview be sure to check out her Fun Facts, our kiddos are only weeks apart and I literally broke into a sweat reading some of these (like when they start driving, yikes!).
You mentioned to me that you had a rough pregnancy, what happened and how did you cope?
I was sick all day, every day for two trimesters. Not queasy… vomiting all day. I didn’t gain any weight for the first and most of the second trimesters. I got to where I chose my meals based on how I could tolerate it when it came back up. Ick. I taught first grade, and those poor kids got quite a crash course on morning sickness. I couldn’t keep down even my thyroid medicine, which I need to survive. Ondansetron/Zofran helped me somewhat – thank goodness I was approved for so many months of it with my insurance, as it is quite pricey. I carried the girls full term, and they ended up separating several of my ribs and cracking one towards the end. Painful, but since I could finally keep food down by then, the third trimester was actually my best. Oh, and I had a spectacular cankle. My left leg resembled a loaf of bread with toes. After reading other multiple blogs, I realize how whiny I sound since my complications were minor and the girls were healthy. That said, I don’t think I ever want to be pregnant again. Plus, my doctor said the chances of us having another set of twins was pretty good. I don’t know if I could handle newborn twins and toddler ones!
What are some of your favorite memories of the first few months with your girls?
I honestly don’t remember the first few months. I know I was there because I’m in the pictures. We were so sleep deprived that even the things I do remember are hazy and I’m not sure if I only remember them because I did take so many pictures. (My husband laughed when I filled the camera’s memory card when the girls were 6 weeks old, which averaged to one picture for every half hour they were alive). I love baby snuggling as much as the next person, but I really enjoy the girls more and more as they get older. I sometimes miss how small they used to be, but every age I come to ends up being my new favorite… something that I’m sure will come to an abrupt halt by the time they turn 13! For now, I cherish the present. I love to watch them learn, make connections, and communicate. I love watching them socialize and make friends. I love hearing big vocabulary words come out in a squeaky baby voice. I love watching them clumsily run around. I love to hear them sing, watch them dance, and console them when they are hurt or scared. I love three years old, and wouldn’t go back to those first few months even if I could.
You were a teacher before you had the girls, and now teach them at home, what kinds of activities do you do with them?
Oddly enough, I do a lot of the same things with my girls at three that I was doing with my classroom full of 6 and 7 year olds. Since having my own children, I realize just how little most parents do to help their kids succeed in school, assuming it is not their job. Did you know that children should have read thousands of books before they ever reach kindergarten? I read to the girls (all the time) as well as do guided reading with them (where they read predictable text books aloud to me). When they were about 18 months old, we really started working on recognizing the letters of the alphabet. By two they were working on the sounds the letters made. Now we are pre-reading, working on rhyming words, stringing consonant-vowel-consonant words together, some sight words, and ‘baby’ math skills – one to one correspondence, rote counting, continuing a pattern, simple addition with manipulatives. Really, the most important thing you can do for your child is read to them every day. Let them turn the pages when they are infants, point out that you are reading the words not the pictures, let them tell their own stories using the pictures, have them retell the story or even act it out. There are some awesome websites out there to help parents teach their kids at home. Two of my favorites: http://activitymom.blogspot.com and http://www.icanteachmychild.com
You and your husband also own and operate a bar and restaurant, how do you juggle that and the girls (and keep your sanity?!)?
Who said we have kept our sanity?! Luckily, Adam (my sweet husband) deals with the day to day craziness of the restaurant and bar. I reap the benefits of having a huge venue for playdates and birthday parties as well as endless food supplies… I often have Adam bring home smoked chicken or ham for the girls dinner on days that I don’t want to cook. The hassles of having a restaurant are plenty… weird hours for daddy, dealing with drunk people breaking or stealing our stuff on a regular basis, and there was the initial panic of ‘will this thing ever make money’ back when we started it. Luckily, it has become quite successful, and the odd hours for Adam actually benefit Cam & Gray, since he can take off on weekdays and go to the zoo, Little Gym, museum, or other fun outings when those places aren’t so crowded.
What would you do with an extra hour in your day?
Will it depress the moms of newborn twins if I answered with sleep? I feel like I have been sleep deprived since the ‘babies’ (we still call them that) were born (three years ago!) I’m exaggerating, but I do miss sleeping in. There is something so decadent about sleeping in the morning. Waking on my own instead of to the calls of “Mommmmmy! The sun is up! I have to go pottttttty!” would be pretty darn nice. If that answer is too cliche for a multiples site (because, honestly, what mom of twins wouldn’t want a nap?), I would love an extra hour just to do what we do every day. I love spending time with the girls as they blossom into little people. I am totally dreading the day when they go to school and someone else gets to spend more waking hours with them than I do. Please note that I should spend that hour doing laundry or dishes, as I completely neglect those duties and by the time the girls finally go to bed, I use my alone time to edit photos or read on my kindle or blog or read other blogs. Anything but housework.
My girls just turned 3, have been potty trained since Christmas, and are STILL in cribs. Do you think I am damaging them by keeping them in baby beds? If not, what age do I HAVE to switch them over? And… I’m addicted to dressing Camden & Grayden up. What are your favorite places, Etsy shops, or websites to buy cute clothes for little people?
Don’t forget to leave your answers to Johanna’s questions in the comment sections (especially those Etsy shops!) and then head over to The Baker Twins to leave some bloggy love!