Saturday, July 18, 2009

I've learned...

2 days down and 2 days to go for team Opa and Daddy. We're hanging tough and soaking in the quality time with Easton and Layla. I've learned a few things about raising twins that I didn't know before this Mr. Mom experience.

One discovery is that I spend much more time in the kitchen than I anticipated. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, then repeat every single day for the next 17 years. Wow. The teamwork between Opa and I is zooming along like a well oiled machine, but it sure takes work. After breakfast we were wiping blueberries off the walls and picking oatmeal out of Layla's nose. I looked at Opa and asked, "What are we going to feed the twins for lunch? We both stared blankly like deer in headlights. We browsed through the pantry and fridge spouting off random possibilities until we came up with a game plan. Luckily Oma left us with plenty of choices of food, but even so it is still difficult to add enough variety to keep them interested. Also, they are developing individual tastes, which limits what we put on their high chair trays. Layla likes green beans, Easton doesn't. Easton likes grapes, Layla doesn't. you get the picture... Kendra continually says, "I'm NOT a short order cook!" and now I know what she means.

I've learned a few things about myself as well...

I'm boring at times, unable to improvise, and slow on my feet. I experienced an odd moment where Easton and Layla were wandering around the living room looking bored. I walked over to them and froze like a 7 year old at a piano recital. They looked up at me as if to say, "yes, dad? now is your big chance to us how much fun you are!" I choked. However, they gave me plenty of chances for redemption and we've bonded through some great play time during the past couple of days. Now they think I am truly funny. All I have to do is repeatedly turn around and look at them with a silly smile. They bust up laughing. Easton pipes up with his sweet voice saying, "more? more? more?" I captured one of these moments while we drove to dinner tonight.

By the way, I'm jamming out to my Phil Wickham station on Pandora's internet radio. Can't get enough of that guy...

I figured out there is a difference between natural fun and manufactured fun. An example of natural fun is seen in the video of Oma and Layla from the previous blog post. No props, no structure, no planning, just spontaneous interactions that flow as Oma and Layla giggle and laugh. An example of manufactured fun is what we did this morning at The Little Gym. I researched yesterday and discovered a class for Easton and Layla's age would occur this morning. We showed up on time and spent the next 45 minutes playing, interacting, and tumbling.

The twins did extremely well to meet the physical challenges presented and I am proud of them. Layla spent most of the "free play" time saying "hi" to other toddlers and climbing over every obstacle in her path.

Easton found his own forte of swinging on the high bar and walking across the balance beam. He takes his time in assuring his foot and hand placement is sturdy.

By the end of class Layla was doing pull ups on the high bar. I'm not being sarcastic either... She really did pullups while Opa held her steady!

I call this type of interaction manufactured fun because it is structured and relies on outside stimulus other than what you can do to engage and entertain the babies. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of The Little Gym play time as well as Opa and the twins. What they offer there blows away "lap sit" at the local library because they are building physical skills AND burning much more energy than if they just clap their hands at lap sit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with manufactured fun, but I believe Easton and Layla are much more fulfilled through natural fun. Just an observation and motivation for me to take some tips from how Oma, Opa, and Kendra interact with the twins.

We took a short drive up the road as an adventure to find a local splash pad. We did find it, but Easton only wanted to stomp his feet in the puddles and Layla only wanted to run up and down the grassy hill next to the park. We stopped long enough to catch a picture of us with the hills in the background.

We had a HUGE day of activities and play time so Easton and Layla were practically begging me to put them in their crib for bed time tonight. I told them to say, "good night, daddy" and they did so with a wave of their arm.

You might also notice Layla has one pacifier in her mouth and one in her hand.

Bedtime requires TWO pacifiers be in her crib because she inevitably throws one at Easton. If another one isn't handy, she cries until I go dig around and find the lost pacifier on the ground, which is no fun in the middle of the night.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel and that light is the headlamp on the airplane bringing my wife home. We all miss her very much!


Dustin said...

Hey Bronson,

Good post. I know what you mean about the natural fun vs. manufactured fun. The main difference that I have noticed is that manufactured fun has a short shelf life, as the kid will get bored with the toy. Natural fun can just go on forever because if you're funny and you can make them laugh, you can always find a new way to do that.

Sounds like you and Steve are hitting your strides! Enjoy!


The Four Webbs said...

Hey Dustin,

That's a very good way to describe the manufactured fun as being short lived. I agree. The same silly face I make today will more than likely generate laughs tomorrow. may as well right the wave as long as it lasts!