Taking On Two

Team Vanderwall remains in the first quarter of the 2nd year of life. The V5 have come out of the gate with some creative tactics, but Mom, Dad and Nana have proved to be resilient early in the game. This tough trio has taken on potty training, spoon skills, outdoor walks and even social gatherings. The quints appear to be a force to be reckoned with, and we don’t deny the mutinies that have occurred in the last month, but we remain hopeful.

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Navigating the age of two takes creativity, patience and endurance. It is such a blessing that Frank, Nana and I have alternating schedules so we can stay “fresh” for the V5. They are so “hungry” for new scenes, new games, new words and new experiences. It is beautiful to watch them soak up life!

Along with all of these “news” have come an abundance of new words! I truly believe that communication is the key to surviving and is what transforms the terrible two’s into the terrific two’s. It is increasingly obvious that 50% of their frustrations come from lack of words to say what they want to say, 25% are from their inability to identify what they are feeling inside (emotions), and the final 25% is unpreventable provoking from their siblings, namely Lily.

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Our battle plan for the age of two includes…

Help them “use their words:” This includes teaching them new words everyday. Some times this happens by accident and other times it is very intentional. We also have to remind them to use the words they know versus collapsing on the floor like a giant puddle (Ellie) or screaming and running circles (Kali Mae), or even jolting around in your chair like your toes are in an electrical socket (Bella). You will note that Theo was note named. He honestly has very few tantrums, which I think is because his vocabulary and capacity to communicate are quite high for his age.

Navigating emotions: Anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, etc. all produce icky sensations inside and helping the V5 to identify these feelings, understand that they are all okay and deal with them in a productive manner is a huge undertaking. We have been trying to call it when we see it, or simply say “Mae’s scared, it’s okay to be scared.” We have noticed the more that we help them to process early on in the scene the quicker it resolves.

Once we have labeled the emotion, we move on to helping them deal with it. A few tips we have received and tried include:

  • Time out to chill out: We have designated certain areas on the couch called “nests.” These are the chill out zones. When someone needs to calm down they are relocated to the nest with a few of their favorite toys.
  • Shake it off: When we see that they are angry or sad, we try to wipe off the nasty feeling and then shake it off. You could even use a towel for a visual.
  • Time out for safety: If we are late to the scene and injuries have incurred, then we do often separate the quints to preserve their safety. They can be vicious and have been known to bite, hit, kick, pinch and nearly draw blood. Therefore, a quick 2-5 minute time out can help to restore peace in an effective manner.

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Staying Fresh: This tactic is two-fold: it requires that Mom, Dad and Nana are taking care of themselves so that they have lots of love and energy to pour out to the munchkins and consistently coming up with new activities to help the V5 explore all that life has to offer and continue to learn, grow and play.

Frank is the best at coming up with new games. Check out his obstacle course, The Quint 500, below.

The kids also love to go to the zoo, play outside, go on “big kid” walks, and read, read, read!

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The Habituation Hypothesis

Christmas and New years have both come and gone, and 2015 is upon us. This holiday season flew by faster than in previous years, and I have closed the case on the vanishing holiday season. I have confirmed six reasons why the days seem to pass in the blink of an eye: Theo, Bella, Lily, Kali and Elliott. The sixth reason is a bit more scientific- the “Habituation Hypothesis.” This hypothesis is based on the fact that human brains use an abundance of energy everyday, and as we age the brain looks for ways to conserve energy. One way it conserves energy is by placing daily routines on auto-pilot; these may include emptying the dishwasher, driving to work, or changing diapers. This adaptation makes time seem like it is passing much more quickly since fewer unique moments are being recorded by the brain. When we are younger, everything is new; when you become a parent, everything is routine.

This realization made me want to slow down these special years by creating more unique moments, or “elevating our daily experiences.” The following are a few snapshots of cherished memories of this winter season…

 

Our Lead Nudest (video)-

 

Theo & Bella loving their new Teddy’s from Grandpa and Grandma-
Teddy Love
Kali’s rendition of Shake it Off and the V5 showing off there physiology skills (video)-


A sneak peek on how we keep our house so clean (video)-

Kali showing off her favorite Christmas present from Uncle JD- Pandy-
Kmae & Pandy
A very Vanderwall Christmas morning (video)-

The V5 are 15 Months

The V5 are 15 months old and raking in the milestones!

Halloween Video (Click to view the video)

Time certainly is flying by and their minds are growing just as fast as their bodies. Our home is full of chatter, balls, blocks, cups, and various forms of transportation. The quints love the Chicco Walker, their new stroller and their activity table , which has been re-purposed (thanks to Kali’s ingenuity) as a walker. They also enjoy exploring all of the cause-and-effect relationships in the world, such as dropping toys from high places, bopping themselves and each other on the head and of course biting. I am very glad that the biting phase, which lasted about 2 weeks, appears to be coming to an end. The kiddos looked like they were covered in hickies during the worst of it. A few of the V5 continue to be quite aggressive. The most common reason for aggressive behavior in toddlers is their inability to express: emotions, energy and the fact that they are in pain. Knowing this has helped us to handle their outbursts much easier. The best ways to respond include:

  • Not reacting and staying calm,
  • Redirecting their attention and possibly removing them from the situation, and
  • Being consistent.

Three- Theo, Ellie and Bella- are walking and Lily has taken a few steps.

Bella’s First Steps (Click to view the video)

 

Theo’s First Steps (Click to view the video)

 

Kali, who has the strength, balance and coordination to walk, continues to choose to crawl, but will most likely just stand and take her few steps any day now.

Kali's characteristic head stand
Kali’s characteristic head stand

The two trends that are sweeping across the V5 nation are taking your clothes off and styling your hair with the day’s fare. Bella continues to be the ringleader of the nudist colony, as well as, the monkey that starts to put food in their hair. As those with multiple children know, it is a game of monkey see, monkey do.

All of their vocabularies also continue to grow. They all can say ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba and na-na, but I’m not quite sure they know what these consonants mean, yet. They also all can recognize the words:

  • Hi,
  • Bye,
  • Nose,
  • Ear,
  • Mouth,
  • Belly,
  • Baby,
  • Ball,
  • Diaper,
  • Good Job, and
  • Our favorite- No.

We are also excited to share our Halloween celebration as Pacman and his 4 ghosts: Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde.
Happy Halloween 2014

The adventures that lie ahead include learning:

  • how to climb up and down the stairs,
  • learning each others names,
  • learning hungry, full, and sleepy, and
  • learning how to color.

Her First Year: Elliott Rose

Last born by seconds. Our baby girl.  Sweet as she is stubborn. Independent by nature. The best self soother. One determined little girl.

Most likely to walk first. Will likely be the most compliant child.  Most likely to land a job in the C-suite.

Ms. Elliott Rose.

Her First Year: Kali Mae

The fourth born. Loud from the start, our screecher monkey. Queen of the steam roll. Expressions that make your heart smile.  A face you can read like a book.

Most likely to steal your toy with no regard. Will likely stand on her head before her feet. Most likely to have her name mispronounced correct them with a smile.

Ms. Kali Mae.

Her First Year: Lillian Grace

The third born. Our resilient Lily bug. Simultaneously, two steps behind and two steps ahead. Campaigner for attention and knows how to work the crowd at any social event

Most likely to toss her cookies. Will likely be a scaredy cat like her Mama. Most likely to share her toys, her opinion and her heart.

Ms. Lillian Grace

A Memorable Meeting

We had the most memorable meeting of our lives nearly one year ago. After the miraculous delivery of our quintuplets, now fondly known as the V-5, I had to wait over 24 hours until I could meet them.

This moment has a very special place in my heart…


As we prepare to celebrate the V5’s first birthday, we will be releasing video compilations of each quint beginning with Mr. Theo! Stay tuned!

Ellie is 9 months!

Elliott

Elliott 2

Nicknames: Ellie, Ellie Rose, E. Rose & Baby Girl

Birth Length: 14.9 in

Current Length: 26 in

Birth Weight: 2.41 lbs

Current Weight: 16 lbs

Favorite toy: Anything Kali is playing with.

Elliott

Favorite Past-time: Rolling from toy to toy, Swiping toys from her siblings & Snuggling with her big brother

BFF_T&E

Mastered Milestones: Rolling to and fro,

Developing Milestones: Sitting up by herself, Crawling

Personality Traits: Sweet, Observant and a bit demanding

Kali is 9 months!

Kāli Mae Kali_Raspberry2

Nicknames: K-Mae, K, Monkey-Mae, Sunshine

Birth Length: 13 in

Current Length: 26.3 in

Birth Weight: 2.29 lbs

Current Weight: 17.5 lbs

Favorite toy: The Atom, Popping Giraffe

Favorite Past-time: Playing in the forest, practicing her yoga poses (happy baby) and swimming on her tummy

Kali

Mastered Milestones: Sitting up by herself, Standing with assistance, 2 bottom teeth!

Developing Milestones: Crawling

HappyBaby_Kali

Personality Traits: Sweet, Observant, Silly, Imaginative

Bella is 9 months!

Isabella

Goofy Bella

Nicknames: Bella, Bella Bean & Bells

Birth Length: 15.7 in

Current Length: 25.7 in

Birth Weight: 2.49 lbs

Current Weight: 15.7 lbs

Favorite toy: Anything that rattles

Favorite Past-time: Blowing raspberries and banging rattles together

Girl Talk with Kali
Girl Talk with Kali

Mastered Milestones: 1 lonely bottom tooth, Sitting up by herself

Developing Milestones: Crawling and Standing with limited assistance

 

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Personality Traits: Strategic, Goofy, Aggressive