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Read! Nap! Cook! How To Do It All With Twins Part II – Our Morning

Monday, November 28th, 2011 9:49 am | By Stephanie Woo

I spoke to a mom with a 10-month old who read Read! Nap! Cook! How to do it all with twins. “Can you give me more details?” she asked.

Short of creating a 2-hour video, I decided to keep a log of Brooke and Mackenzie’s morning activities and Mom/Dad’s morning activities so parents can get a sense of what it looks like at our house when the children are occupying themselves and mom is free to do her own thing.

As you’ll see, this morning, I spent 30 minutes in the bathroom, read for 30 minutes, went out to buy breakfast and ate it. Then I napped for 15 minutes until I got woken up by Verizon. Meanwhile, Brooke and Mackenzie were busy most of the morning and didn’t need my attention until 9:14am.

This log is taken on November 21, 2010. Brooke and Mackenzie are 11 ½ months. The log starts at 7am and ends at 9:20 am when my babysitter arrived.

The day starts at 7am when I open their bedroom door. They are already awake. I carry Mackenzie into the living room while Brooke crawls behind us. Daddy helps change diapers while I make milk. They drink milk.

Mom and Dad’s activities

7:20 Dad goes to meditate. I check on laundry and then go into the bathroom.

Brooke and Mackenzie’s activities

7:20 They crawl to toy shelf and start playing

 

7:24 I hear them in kitchen, opening and closing cabinets

 

7:32 I hear them in my room, banging on the blocks

7:47 I come out of bathroom to see where they are. Do a little tidying up in the room.

7:47 In their room, Brooke is opening the drawers and taking stuff out and Mackenzie is chewing on a button

7:52 I go to the kitchen to get a glass of water, sit down to read in living room (and take notes for this article you are reading)

 

7:58 I continue reading and writing without looking at them

7:58 Comes over to me. One plays with my iphone and the other looks at a book next to me

 

8:04 Picks up their morning bottle, drink some more, then drops it and crawls to toy shelf

 

8:05 Plays at toy shelf

8:08 Daddy comes back from meditation and goes to bathroom.

8:08 They crawl to hallway. Plays with musical toy hanging on the gate right outside the bathroom

8:12 Daddy comes out of bathroom, we chat, he makes coffee.

8:12 Back playing at toy shelf

8:16 Daddy cooks breakfast (I am still reading and writing)

8:16 Brooke goes to kitchen to find Daddy. M follows

8:22 Daddy is eating. I go out to buy breakfast

8:22 Pull up on Daddy to get bites of his food

8:34 I come home with breakfast. Sit down on couch to eat and continue reading my book. Daddy goes into bathroom

8:34 B and M playing by my file cabinet. They follow daddy to the bathroom

 

8:40 They come to me. I give them bites of my sandwich

8:46 Daddy in closet getting dressed to go to work

8:46 Mackenzie in closet with daddy. Brooke is on floor under the dining room table

8:50 Daddy leaves for work

 

8:55 I get in bed for a nap

8:55 B and M playing in hallway

9:10 Verizon knocks on door looking for our neighbor

9:10 Playing in their bedroom

9:13 I lie back down to continue my nap

 

 

9:14 Brooke calls to me wanting me to hold her. So I do. And then we all go into their bedroom to play

 9:20 Nanny arrives

 

Brooke and Mackenzie kept themselves busy from 7:20-9:14am and I had time to take care of everything I needed to. They know they are free to roam about the house. Since the house is baby-proofed, they cannot get into too much trouble even if I can’t see them. Occasionally I’ll find them chewing on a tissue or even a shoe they’ve gotten out of the closet, but I’m pretty relaxed about things like that. My father-in-law says that’s how he was with his kids. He calls it ‘Benign Neglect.’ Seeing how his four kids are all independent and responsible problem solvers, I’m convinced it works!

Parent Q&A: Help! My 10-month old wants my attention/presence all the time!

Monday, October 17th, 2011 5:13 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Q: My 10 month old wants my attention and presence all the time? What should I do?

A: Children imitate. If you act very busy and concentrate fully on what you are doing, they will do the same. Create a safe playing environment where you can leave them to play by themselves, connect them to a toy that they like, then leave them alone and concentrate on what you’re doing.

My mom, Ms. Lam, tells this story:  Maddy has been throwing tantrums everyday she comes to school and refuses to go into her classroom. Mom doesn’t want Maddy to feel abandoned, so she stays with her, trying to appease her. This goes on for two weeks with no end in sight. Finally Ms. Lam tells Mom: “Tomorrow, when you come to school, please bring a book to read or some knitting. When you come, sit outside the classroom door and start reading or knitting. No matter how much Maddy cries, just keep concentrating on what you’re doing and act very busy.  This way you have not abandoned her and at the same time, she will see you are busy. If she cries, let her know that it is okay for her to cry, but you are busy.” The mother took Ms. Lam’s advice and after three days of knitting, Maddy’s tantrums stopped completely and she started going to school without a fuss.

As I mentioned in Read! Nap! Cook!, don’t interrupt your child. Don’t look over and say, “Good job!” or “You’re such a good boy for playing by yourself!”every three minutes. Don’t even look directly at him. Observe him out of the corner of your eye to make sure he isn’t climbing the bookshelf, but otherwise, don’t let the child know you are looking at him or paying attention to him. Concentrate on what you are doing.

In my experience, I find that there are certain things that will hook a child’s attention no matter how hard I concentrate on it – the computer and the cell phone. When I’m on the internet or talking on the phone, they will inevitably come over and want my attention. Either they want my phone or want me to hold them. I don’t know why this is so, but try napping, cooking, reading a book, writing in a notepad or knitting!

Also, 10-month old is the age when babies are learning the concept of ‘Object Permanace.’ They are learning “people and things still exist even if I don’t see them.” If you start with him now, it will take about 4-5 months to fully grasp this concept. Giving him a toy like this will help him learn: Box with tray and ball. Another thing for you to do is to slowly go away and come back. Go away for 5 minutes and then come back to him, then go away for 10 minute and come back, etc. When you are not within his line of vision, say, “Mommy’s in the kitchen cooking!” or “Mommy’s in the bathroom cleaning the bathtub!” Let him hear your voice and know that you are there, even if he cannot see you. This will teach him that you haven’t disappeared if he doesn’t see you, which will lessen his anxiety about leaving you to explore on his own.

Read! Nap! Cook! How to do it all with twins

Monday, October 10th, 2011 2:46 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Brooke and Mackenzie occupied with their favorite book with removeable pieces

45 minutes…60 minutes…75 minutes…I am watching the clock to see how long Brooke and Mackenzie can occupy themselves without needing anything from me. I am cooking, cleaning, checking email and don’t even look at them unless they call out to me. If one of them babbles something that is clearly directed at me, I look at her, repeat what she said, then add, “Okay, mommy is cooking,” and go back to cooking. They then go back to doing what they’re doing.

At 9 months old, Brooke and Mackenzie can play up to 1.5 hours by themselves. If they crawl to me, I will pick them up and talk to them/play with them for 5 minutes, then put them back on the floor. If they call to me, I will respond by saying something to them. If they cry, I will pick them up, of course. I am on alert for danger, but I never interrupt them unless it’s necessary.  It’s hard, but I have to stop myself from even looking at them because my stare distracts them and pulls their attention to me. They are completely happy playing by themselves.

From very early on, when they were less than 2 months old, I would allow them to do tummy time on their floor mat without interrupting them. Unless they cried or needed to be fed/changed, I allowed them to “play” by themselves. As they got older, I would give them a toy or hang one above them (see mobile), and do my own thing (cook, clean, read, etc.) while they played. When Brooke was 4 months old, she could play with a toy for 20 minutes by herself. And if I switched out the toy, she could play by herself for at least another 20 minutes. The time stretched as they got older.

I cannot stress how important it is NOT to interrupt a baby when he is exploring a toy, doing tummy time, looking at himself in the mirror, crawling around, just cooing to himself, etc. During that time, do not touch or interact with him.  Do not even look at him. Your look is distracting.  Model for your baby what it means to do your own thing. He needs that time to play and explore by himself, which builds concentration, motor skills and teaches him to occupy himself.  Start this trend when they’re newborn and soon enough, you’ll be reading books, cooking extensive meals and taking much-needed naps…all while they play.

Read more here.