In praise of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood

 

kids
Image shows five of the main characters of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

We love this show in our house! Roland references the episodes often.  I’ve been able to talk him down from a tantrum by asking what Daniel Tiger does when he gets frustrated, and then singing the song with him (“when you feel so mad that you wanna ROAR, take a deep breath, and count to four”).

When Juliette was Roland’s age, before she was very verbal, she would use bits of Daniel Tiger scripts or songs to communicate different needs or emotions, for example, singing the potty song to alert us that she had to go.  We just had to pay attention to what she was scripting, and figure out the significance of it in her current situation.

I was reading something recently that described Daniel Tiger episodes as basically “social stories,” which, if you’ve never heard that term, are stories of a particular situation or activity, which include specific information about what to expect and/or how to behave in that situation, and why. I would definitely agree with that comparison.

In each Daniel Tiger episode, a different situation is introduced, for example, what should one do when a baby sibling messes up their toys, and then it’s reinforced repeatedly throughout the episode using a short, catchy song (“when a baby makes things different, find a way to make things fun!”) That’s just one example of many.

I’m truly not surprised to see that research shows that toddlers who watch Daniel Tiger have stronger social and emotional development.  It has really helped my kids learn to navigate various social situations, and deal with big emotions.  I would highly recommend this show for any small child, whether they are autistic or neurotypical.

32 week twin update

I am now 32 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  In the home stretch now!  At my last OB appointment, we officially scheduled my c-section for July 15th, which means that now we have less than a month until we meet our babies!  I can’t even believe it.  There were parts of this pregnancy (like the entire first 16 weeks of non-stop nausea) that seemed to take forever, but mostly I feel like this has flown by.  I feel like I was just lying on an ultrasound table being told there were two heartbeats (and I will never forget the shock of that moment!) and now here I am, getting ready to meet my identical twin daughters!

Twins are unpredictable – especially when they are sharing one source of blood flow and nutrients.  My body could decide at any time that it has had enough.  The placenta could start failing.  The frequent, random contractions I have each day could become regular, signaling the start of “real” labor.  The water bag around one baby could break.  They could develop twin to twin transfusion, even this late in the game, or one baby could start lagging behind in growth.  My doctors could decide that the babies are “better out than in.”  We JUST DON’T KNOW what is going to happen.  And that’s not an easy thing for someone like me to deal with.  I’m not a fan of surprises.  Unknown factors stress me out immensely.  Having a scheduled date helps somewhat, but my gut feeling all along has been that I will not make it to that date.  We will just have to wait and see what happens…

The twins have looked fantastic at my last few weekly ultrasounds.  They have been passing their biophysical profile tests with perfect scores.  It’s great to see them working on practice breathing, getting those little lungs ready to breathe the outside air.  They visibly look bigger each week that we see them, and we can see how they are running out of room in there.  Yet somehow, they are STILL flip flopping and changing their positions in there!

Their growth was measured at 31 weeks, and they were estimated to weigh 3 lbs 9 oz (Baby A) and 3 lb 10 oz (Baby B).  I was so pleased to hear this, since at the last growth scan, Baby B had been 5.5% smaller than Baby A.  Not only has she caught up, she’s now an ounce ahead of her sister!  Of course, these measurements aren’t exact, but regardless I was very relieved to see their sizes back to being almost exactly alike.  They will be measured again at 34 weeks, if we make it that far.  By then they should be around 4.5 pounds each.  It’s shocking to think that right now, I have more weight in babies inside me than I ever have before!

I’m definitely feeling “maxed out” in this body of mine.  The babies are taking up every possible inch of space inside of me.  Baby A’s head is firmly engaged in my pelvis, and I can literally FEEL the pressure of her head between my legs as I am walking around (which is as weird as you can probably imagine).  I’ve got tiny baby feet so high up that I can feel them sticking out directly under my breasts.  I have no idea how there is any room for any of my organs at this point.  Where does the food go when I eat?  Where does the air go when I breathe?!  I legit don’t even know.  Women’s bodies are AMAZING.

I am getting more exhausted and uncomfortable by the day, but I am holding on.  Some days I get random bursts of energy, which I use to tackle my last few projects, like sorting cute little pink baby clothes, hehe.  I’m so excited to dress up twin girls!  🙂

I’m trying to prepare the other kids for the arrival of their sisters.  We’ve had a couple of difficult talks lately.  I told them about the strong possibility of the babies needing NICU care, and what that might look like for our family.  They were bummed that they wouldn’t be allowed into the NICU to hold the babies.  We also talked about c-sections, in simple terms, and how mommy will need some time to recover from surgery.

Through the whole pregnancy, I have been making an effort to spend quality time with each of my kids separately.  A fellow twin mom urged me to do this, way back when I first found out about my twins.  I’m grateful for that advice.  I feel that I have strengthened my relationships with each of my children, and hopefully this will help us when the babies arrive.  I hope my kids will always know how special they each are to me.

I’m nervous about all the changes to come.  Everything about our family will change.  I’m trying to focus on the ways in which it will be enriching and rewarding.  I don’t know how one can ever really be READY for the arrival of two babies at once, but I guess I am as ready as I’ll ever be?  I hope?   LOL

Here are some recent pics of the babies and I:

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Image is a 3D photo of Baby A’s face in profile view, taken at 30 weeks gestation.  I see Juliette in her!  

 

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Image is 4 ultrasound photos collaged together, edited to remove my name.  The two on the left are Baby A (one 2D profile pic, and one 3D pic of her face) and the two on the right are Baby B (both 3D photos of her face).  I’m so in love with their full lips!

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Image is a photo of me, standing sideways with my hand on my hip, showing off the twin belly.  It is labeled “32 weeks – baby is the size of a squash – x2”
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Image is a series of 2 photos, comparing myself at 32 weeks pregnant with Roland, and 32 weeks pregnant with the twins.  Amazingly, there is little difference in belly size?!?! It just appears that the twins are higher up.