The biggest milestone-related news is that Layla is walking everywhere now! The first time she walked from one end of the living room to the other was November 28th, and she stumbled every couple of feet. She has improved every single day after that, and is getting fast! No more crawling for her!
She is still the feistier of the two. We call her our firecracker, because she can explode! She’s starting to throw tantrums that involve throwing herself on the ground and banging her head against the floor. Scary, but at least it’s not the twin who is four months removed from a $250K skull surgery. 🙂
She also appears (right now, anyway) to be more of the schemer. When she knows something is forbidden (like lifting the heavy lid of our ottoman that has caused some sore baby fingers in the past), she peers at me out of the corner of her eye while she attempts to lift it. I tell her No-No and she bursts into tears. She 100% knows she is not supposed to do it, but she tests me.
She does most of the talking at this point. She says “Hiya!” and loves to go “Mmmmmmmm-mamaaaaaa,” really dragging out the M sound. She voices her approval over foods she likes. She loves to press buttons, including endlessly turning our DVR on and off. This has resulted in her Daddy placing duct tape over the buttons, but that hasn’t stopped her from peeling off the strips of tape. She is tenacious and already can be relentless when she wants something.
She is VERY sociable, grinning broadly whenever she gets extra attention. A family member, someone she had only met once briefly before in the waiting room during Violet’s surgery, visited our house last week and stretched her arms out for Layla to come to her. Layla flashed her a huge smile and beelined over to receive the hug with no hesitation. She loves people and also laughs hysterically at our dogs when they play. Recently one of our dogs had a little bit of a cough because she had apparently eaten some leaves outside, and Layla laughed at every cough. I guess she thought it was a funny noise!
Layla plays peek-a-boo, and it sounds like she tries to mimic us when we sing Twinkle-Twinkle-Little-Star. When I sing to her, she claps loudly afterwards and yells Yaaaaayyyyy. She has been practicing turning in a circle while she stands up, which is funny to watch.
Violet is, in a lot of ways, the polar opposite of Layla. Not in every way–they are quite a bit alike, but in some ways they couldn’t be more different. Violet is very reserved and cautious. Whereas Layla ran straight for the family member who visited, Violet wouldn’t even look her way.
My husband thinks Violet is going to be Type A or have a little bit of OCD. She is very methodical in so many ways–she has the most precise pincer grasp I’ve ever seen. Whereas Layla drags out toy after toy, Violet picks them up and puts them away. She seems to prefer order and routine and structure.
Violet is also very tidy when she eats. She makes an effort not to dirty her face when she eats. I think she will be a very well-groomed adult!
Violet is not walking yet, and is only just now starting to try to stand independently. She is very obviously afraid of falling and only attempts to stand when she deems it safe. Sometimes her choices are questionable–for example, she received a little armchair for Christmas, and for whatever reason, she has deemed it safe enough to attempt standing upon. Of course, she runs the risk of toppling off the armchair and onto the floor, so I’m not sure why! On the flip side, if you hold both of her hands and gently coax her to stand by herself, she has deemed that an unsafe situation. She becomes afraid that you’re going to let go, and she immediately sits down. We’ve learned that what seems to work is placing a pillow on the floor. We say, “Violet, will you stand?” and she pushes off on the pillow and stands for a couple of seconds. She also pushes off my husband’s chest if he’s stretched out on the floor. She’s getting better and better at this and sometimes stands for 5-6 seconds at a time. She still lacks balance, though.
I believe I may have babied her too much because of her various medical issues and allowed her to become a little less independent. If you direct the girl to a push toy, she can stand up and show that thing who’s boss. But when it comes to independent standing/walking, she is just not there yet. She lacks a lot of confidence. Her clubfeet might play a role, but I’m not sure. I’m not going to worry a lot about it until she’s closer to 2 years old, because others have reassured me that some kids don’t walk until closer to that age. I’m hoping that one day it will just click.
To compensate for not walking yet, she walks on her knees and is really good at it!
The biggest milestone for her lately is that she has starting doing hand gestures to the song “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” She just started doing this a few days ago, and it is pretty neat!
Since putting tubes in Violet’s ears, she is vocalizing a lot more. It’s mostly babble, but “s” and “z” sounds primarily. However, this morning it sounded like she tried to say “Bye bye, Da Da.” She mixes up D and B sounds. For instance, when playing peek-a-boo, she says “Da” instead of “Boo.” But it’s an attempt, at least! She says dada all the time.
Violet hides in corners or behind objects and waits for you to find her. At Christmas, she kept wandering back into my in-laws’ hallway and waiting for me to peek at her. Then she would laugh. She does the same thing with her sister in our living room–she hides on one side of the couch and waits for Layla to find her, and then squeals with delight. She clearly understands cause-and-effect.
Violet loves stuffed animals, and also loves to feed us food. She holds out a Cheerio or Goldfish and laughs excitedly if we eat it out of her hand. She has even tried to offer me a sip of milk from her sippy cup. She seems like a born nurturer. Layla, on the other hand, will place a Cheerio on my palm but then snatch it back and eat it! : )
They fight terribly! Probably the most surprising thing to me about having twins is that they don’t seem to have this unbreakable bond yet that I hear so much about. We really never allowed them to sleep close to one another because of SIDS fears, and we had to separate them when they were so fragile because they may have somehow caused the other one a fracture, so I wonder if that’s why they’re not as close. At this point, they have slept in their own cribs since January and prefer having their own space.
Layla is assertive and rips toys right out of Violet’s hands. Violet vocalizes her displeasure but doesn’t attempt to fight back. (I am working on this behavior, btw.) They head-butt each other and stick their hands in the other one’s face to block them. They have each bitten each other at least a few times. I plan to be very consistent about correcting this behavior, but first they have to fully understand that “no-no” means they are being corrected. Layla knows better at this point, but Violet is just now grasping the understanding. I told her No-No yesterday about something else and her face crumpled, so I think it is sinking in.
They are still picky eaters. They love bananas the best over anything else. Violet or Layla yells at me while I shovel a piece of banana into the other one’s mouth, until I return back to the first one and shovel in another bite. Goldfish and cheese round up second and third for favorite foods. They love apples and peaches, yogurt and animal crackers. They’re turning into little carnivores and love turkey sausage and bacon, hot dogs, pork chops, pepperoni, etc. Layla loves eggs and chocolate (obviously not served together), and Violet hates both. They are still very texture aversive, and it’s difficult to find things they will eat. They hate veggies and a lot of fruits. We started out striving to feed them only healthful foods and at this point are just happy that they eat! We try hiding veggies in their food, and they pick them out or just refuse to eat. Violet loves whole milk and could seriously go through a half-gallon every day if we let her. We limit her to a few cups a day and offer her water the rest of the time. They still have a nighttime bottle, but we’ll have to wean them off of that soon. Our goal is to be completely done with formula by 18 months. Their dentist suggested that we start offering them a bottle filled with water instead of formula. We haven’t started this yet, but we’ll see if it works. Honestly, I am savoring their last few months of nighttime bottles, as that is really one of the few baby things left in our lives!
I could go on and on about all the things they are doing, but I lack time or memory. It is amazing to see all that they are learning and understanding from one day to the next. They are so incredibly precious to me, and my bond with them continues to grow. Words cannot express how thankful I am to have the privilege of seeing them achieve all of these milestones! A year ago, they were three months old and basically still little blobs. To be able to interact with them and help them learn and grow is the greatest reward of my life. I am very lucky!