Twin Talk

There had been a little worry around Clan Dillingham that Gabriel and Zeke don’t yet have many real words in their vocabulary. They definitely have some twin talk going on between the two of them; each of them many times points to the correct object when you say the word; they sign up a storm, with “hat,” “banana,” “grapes,” “airplane,” “light,” “fan” and “wind” recently added to their repertoire; and they make their own special utterances when trying to communicate a point, want, need or emotion.

Never a place for boredom, the kitchen is always full of mayhem & mischief.

For instance, Zeke still makes his bird-like sounds on occasion, but they’re often associated with music or when discussing animals. He also makes a unique affirmative sound, which can best be described as a boisterous “awh-yoh.” Gabriel recently said the two-syllable words “Dada” and “Gookie” (as in Cookie Monster), and Gramsey said he was trying to “slide” (as in sliding board). Many of Gabe’s words start with a “g,” reminiscent of Houston’s “gock gock” days, and that dude sure loves to shake his head “no,” most notably when eating veggies. And lots of Zeke’s words start with a “d.”

Granny says that Stephen was a late talker. But then when he decided to communicate in English, he began speaking in full sentences. To ease our worries, we’ve chatted with two speech therapists in recent weeks, both of whom said they didn’t think there was any cause for concern right now, especially considering that Gabriel and Zeke were born six weeks early and are still developmentally younger than other term 17 month olds, as well as the fact that it is extremely common for twins to have delayed speech. After all, Gabe and Zeke can easily communicate with each other, so why bother with the silly language everyone else is speaking?!

A proud Gramsey soaks in the warm sun w/ Houston Lee.

Since the dynamic is so drastically different now than when Houston was learning to talk (i.e., more kids, less time, brotherly peer pressure and influence, etc.), I am sticking more firmly to a reading regimen with the twins: at least 20 minutes a day of both picture books and story books. And then on the weekends or when we have an extra set of hands, we are doing one-on-one reading with Gabriel and Zeke. That way, each boy will have the undivided attention of the reader and won’t be so easily distracted by his brother(s).

We also plan on eventually bathing them separately (at least some times) and every now and then taking them on errands and adventures separately — just to make sure they aren’t always thought of as a twin or half of a whole. Gabe and Zeke couldn’t be more different and we want to foster their individualism. So for now, our worry has subsided and we just plan on continuing to be proactive.

Houston is rockin’ on colors and the alphabet. Yesterday, he correctly called out an “e” that he saw, although he did say it was a “number e.” Yeah, that whole number-versus-letter thing is still throwing him for a loop, but boy is he eager to master both letters and counting.

On 3/16, Gabe and Zeke made art for the first time. Even though they decided that eating crayons was more fun than drawing with them (thank goodness for non-toxic Crayolas), it was an exciting moment for everyone to witness. Note: I’m pretty sure Zeke is going to be left-handed and Gabriel right-handed. Not only did they tend to hold crayons with those hands, but the same pattern holds true for grasping utensils while eating.

Wild-child Gabriel attacks the photographer, while an engrossed Zeke attacks trucks.

That was also the same day we piled in the mini-van and went to visit Daddy at work. Houston was more thrilled to ride the “vader” (elevator) — not to be confused with Darth Vader — than he was meeting Daddy’s co-workers. He did enjoy playing with Daddy’s cubicle-dwelling super heroes, though.

Currently, all the kids laugh hysterically when watching “Tom & Jerry.” I guess the humor of a mouse hitting a cat upside the head with a frying pan never goes out of style. And Houston is enjoying watching the ’70s TV version of “The Incredible Hulk” with Daddy, although “Doctor Banner turn Hulk” doesn’t happen near enough during an episode to suit his tastes.

On the Mommy front, I’m trying to cut down on my coffee intake by supplementing with green tea. I typically load my coffee up on the half-and-half and sugar, so this move will not only save on calories, but will hopefully also save us on our grocery bill.

I got five stitches in my left index finger on Wednesday. I stupidly used a Cutco knife to cut something other than food. Being that Cutco makes some of the sharpest knives on the planet, I’m lucky I didn’t cut off the entire tip of my finger. I’m also lucky my primary doc stitched me up just a few hours after the incident occurred, so I didn’t have to suffer through the torture that is a modern-day ER.

Gramsey & Papa facilitate lots of outdoor adventure for Zeke & his bros.

I had a proud Mommy moment the other day. None of the kids wanted to eat the leftover lunch feast of mashed potatoes, jasmine rice and chicken noodle soup I had lovingly made them. Food went flying, got squished in hair and eyeballs, and then went simply ignored. Letting the crew know that their defiance wouldn’t pay off, I announced that everyone would be eating the very same thing for dinner. Not wanting to contend with such a mess, however, I slathered the dinner concoction in Ragu. Nobody was the wiser and every bit of the goulash was consumed with glee. Yay … Mommy won!

Click the top photo of the 3 Amigos to check out all the March – Part 1 pics and the above image of sliding-boy Zeke to view all the Part 2 shots.

Raising 3 Boys Under Age 3

It’s exhausting work rearing such willful little dudes, which is one reason this is only my fourth blog of the year. When I get any down time away from the kids and housework, I often end up just collapsing in the sack.

Walking w/ a confident swagger, Gabriel shows off his bed head.

But now that the weather has turned pleasant and we’re spending as much time outdoors as possible, our days haven’t been nearly as madcap as they were beginning to get during those last stir-crazy weeks of winter.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • Nearly a month ago, Gabriel and Zeke turned the same age Houston was when they were born: 16 months old. This milestone is a reminder that despite the demands of my career, these precious years are fleeting.
  • The twins are such strong and happy boys that it just delights my heart smother them with kisses and receive their firm hugs. Watching them grow into toddlers is truly a joy.

 Zeke doesn’t have to be using the ball tower to appreciate good old-fashioned fun w/ a ball.

  • Last weekend, we took a day trip to Shelby for Aunt Hessie’s 100th birthday party and then dinner at Bridge’s BBQ. This was the twins first time dining out at a restaurant. They were amazingly well behaved.
  • For about a week now, the boys have been fighting snotty colds, giving them croupy coughs and seemingly endless runny noses.
  • When their not sick, all the boys have insatiable appetites, stunning everyone who has the opportunity to feed them. Wish we could put those eating fools to work to help us buy groceries … damn child labor laws.
  • Gabriel and Zeke are now climbing our outside stairs. Their other favorite outdoor activities include throwing gravel, checking out parked cars, playing with plastic pots, and messing around with dirt and leaves.

Houston goes for a backyard ride in the Papa-tweaked seeder.

  • Houston’s current outdoor thing is collecting rocks and acorns … and pushing down Gabe and Zeke, although the twins are holding their own and fighting back a lot more now that big brother doesn’t seem as big as he used to.
  • One of Houston’s fave indoor activities is dressing in his Spidey costume and playing super heroes with Storm (a.k.a. Mommy). Addressing one another by our pretend names is a must, as is Mommy — I mean, Storm — donning her blanket cape.
  • Indoor fun for the twins includes building blocks, ball tower, board books, puzzles and ganging up on Houston.
  • Zeke is now on a second Rx for reflux. It has helped a bit, but puking still rears its ugly, stinky head on occasion.

Gabriel charges @ Granny w/ the Nerf ball & Zeke experiments w/ a couple of pinwheels.

  • Houston’s sleep problems persist, with him often climbing into bed with us due to an array of issues: “bad cats, bad guys, shadows, too dark.” Sometimes we get him back into his bed, sometimes not. It’s hard to be persistent at 4 a.m., but eventually we’ll prevail.
  • Houston’s potty training is going great, though. I think he’ll be in big-boy underpants before we know it.
  • And last but not least, Houston and Stanley are finally friends.

Click the above photo to view all the February – Part 2 pics and the very top photo to see all the Part 1 shots.