Saturday, October 31, 2009

10 months old ... and 10 new things!

When I was pregnant, I didn't realize what a wonderful resource (and source of support) my local Moms of Multiples (MoMs) group would be to me once the babies came. The women in the group share everything from quick and easy recipes to Halloween costume ideas for multiples to real-life horror stories (for example: lady in Target asks triplet mom who's shopping with her girls, two of whom are identical, "So which one is the ugly one?").

One of the most useful tips I've gotten from the veteran MoMs so far is to buy a notebook for each child and keep it in the kitchen. That way, every time one of kids does something new or cute, I can quickly and easily jot down whatever it is before I forget. The notebooks are not as fancy as baby books, but they're not as much work, either. Exactly what I need!

As I looked over my entries yesterday, I realized that the babies started doing 10 new things during their 10th month (how appropriate!). One or more of them can now:

Feed themselves! Exactly a month ago, Isaac fed himself a Cheerio at the dinner table. A couple of minutes later, Dahlia did the same. Then Jude did it. And then Lucy did it! I find it amazing that, while the babies usually reach milestones days or even weeks apart, they all started feeding themselves within minutes of each other. We are now trying out various table foods, with varying degrees of acceptance.

Isaac at 10 months: Almost always the first to do something new!

Clap! Dahlia started doing this on her own one day at the breakfast table. At first she would get the cheesiest look on her face when she clapped; I wish I had gotten it on video because now she just claps like a normal baby.

Play with a ball! Isaac has discovered that some toys bounce if you throw them! So he now plays his own game of fetch, throwing bouncy toys in one direction, crawling across the pen to get them, and then throwing them in the other direction. Ted is certain that Isaac is going to be a pro athlete one day and make us all millionaires.

Bite! Everyone but Lucy has two teeth now (she has one), but some teeth have had more time to grow than others. Isaac's are pretty big, and, with more on the way, he will bite on anything for relief. Including our arms.

Throw tantrums! Okay, so this started before the 10-month mark, but I just recorded the phenomenon last month. Dahlia wants to be an only child, and if she doesn't get your attention when she wants it, she'll throw back her head, arch her back, and kick her legs wildly. This is accompanied by very loud screaming, of course. We've been using the "ignore" tactic—does anyone have a better suggestion? I am afraid that the other babies will get some bad ideas from Dahlia!

Dahlia at 10 months: Doesn't she look so innocent?

Dahlia and Lucy have been babbling for a while, but Jude recently joined them in saying ba-ba, da-da, and na-na. Jude has also started chirping and making other cute sounds when he plays—so cute!

Jude at 10 months: Happy to see Mommy after his nap!

Say words! As I related earlier this month, Lucy can say "Pepper," and she often will call the kitty's name when she is in the room. But Lucy has also added to her repertoire by repeating "banana" at dinner and "bubbles" at bath time. Oh, and while we were watching "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Lucy said "Obama"—twice!

Lucy at 10 months: Learning to pattycake with Abuelita Joanna

Call me! Everyone except Isaac cries, "Mamá, mamá," whenever they are upset. I am pretty sure that they are talking to me most of the time!

Sit up, crawl, and pull up! When Lucy decided to catch up with her siblings, she did it fast: She sat up and crawled on the same day, pulled up to standing 5 days later, and started cruising 5 days after that! She can pretty much keep up with the pack now.

The Fab Four at 10 months: Nothing can stop them now!

And, last but not least:

Stand alone! Isaac has been experimenting with letting go when he's standing up. I have seen him stand on his own several times in the past week. From this position, he can also squat to sit without holding on to anything for support. I have a feeling that walking is around the corner. Eleven months, here we come!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'Tis the season

October means Homecoming, and all year I've been looking forward to taking the Fab Four to their first Homecoming Fair. In fact, I was so excited that I even had a friend pick up four matching college tees (not cheap!) so that the babies would be appropriately decked out.

What was I thinking?! Not only does RSV season start this month (running through April), but also H1N1 seems to be everywhere. Both viruses could pose a life-threatening risk to my 33-weekers, who have not been vaccinated against either one. After remembering this tiny detail, we ultimately decided to stay home.

Unfortunately, this will be the story of our lives for the next several months. If you plan on visiting us during this time, we have just a few requests:
If you are sick or have been in the 5 days leading up to your scheduled visit, or if anyone in your family has been sick during that time, please postpone your visit until you are well.

If you have a baby or toddler, please do not bring them with you to visit us until RSV season is over, as the virus is common among children and spreads very easily from child to child.

If possible, please get a flu shot. We plan on getting vaccinated for the regular flu next week, and the babies will be vaccinated for H1N1 when the vaccine becomes available at our pediatrician's office.

As usual, we'll ask you to wash and sanitize your hands before touching the babies, since the virus that causes RSV can live as long as 6 hours on hands and 12 hours on objects.
Oh, and if you're wondering whether I returned the tees I bought for the kids to wear to Homecoming ... no way! Look how cute they look in them!

Jude, Lucy, Isaac, and Dahlia get their first taste of fall in matching AU tees

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A truly GREAT-grandpa

The day we found out about the quads, my Abuelito in Peru was one of the first people I called. When I told him that his dream was coming true—that I was pregnant—he let out a celebratory whooooop! Then I told him to guess how many babies I was having. After a pause, he declared that he'd be happy with two. Laughing, I replied, "More like two times two!"

Stunned and overjoyed, my Abuelito immediately recalled the story of Sarah, who laughed when she learned of her miracle pregnancy. He then offered a prayer to God, thanking Him for his love and his gifts and for how He grants the desires of our hearts and always provides for us. And he prayed that the four beings growing inside of me would grow up in the Lord and to love the Lord.

The moment was bittersweet: Knowing the risks and challenges of traveling with premature quads—and keenly aware of my Abuelito's advanced age—I feared that he would never get to meet my children.

Saying goodbye to my Abuelito at the airport in Peru (November 2007)

Then, several months ago, my Tio Ner and Aunt Harriet started talking about bringing him to the States to meet the quads. As much as I wanted this to happen, I did not pin my hopes on it. There were too many obstacles—among them distance, age, money, and the U.S. State Department itself. So imagine my joy when I learned that he and my Tia Julia had been granted tourist visas to come see us!

They braved the long journey from northern Peru in mid-August and were in this country for nearly a month. I cannot describe what a special gift and privilege it was to be able to introduce my babies to my only surviving grandparent. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine my Abuelito here, holding out his arms to embrace me and my four babies!

I tried to make the most of our precious time together, but I did not take nearly enough pictures. Here are some of my favorites:

Abuelito meeting Isaac for the first time

Lucy studying Abuelito's mustache

Abuelito holding Jude for the first time

Abuelito cuddling with Dahlia

The quads with their Abuelito Nehiel and my Abuelito (their Bisabuelo)

Thank you, Tio Ner and Aunt Harriet, for your efforts to make this seemingly impossible dream a reality! Abuelito, nunca olvidaré los momentos que pasamos juntos acá en mi casita. ¡Lo queremos mucho!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lucy's first word!

When people ask me what I think the babies' first word will be, I invariably answer, "Pepper." The babies are absolutely fascinated by our kitty, and her presence is enough to pause even the loudest screamfest. In return for their adulation, Pepper tolerates the babies extremely well (although she's not quite sure what she thinks about this crawling thing).

Anyway, last night Lucy was in the Exersaucer babbling away as usual (baba, dada), when Pepper came around the corner and sat down a few feet away from her. As soon as Lucy spotted the kitty, she started bouncing and panting, which is what she does when she's excited. Then Lucy leaned in Pepper's direction and said, "Puh-puh."

Ted was sure that Lucy had only said "baba," so when I picked her up to change her diaper, I decided to see if she would say Pepper's name again. As Lucy twisted in my arms to look at the kitty, I said, "Hi, Pepper!" And Lucy whispered, "Puh-puh."

Pepper, aka "Puh-puh"

"Isn't Pepper pretty?" I asked. Staring at the kitty, Lucy repeated, "Puh-puh." Ted and I looked at each other in amazement. One more time, I said "Pepper," and for the fourth time in a row, Lucy called her name: "Puh-puh."

I think we can safely say that this was not a fluke! I wonder how I can get her to say "Beatles" next ...


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