What's Worked for Us Lately

Toy Rotation

I started rotating their toys after the influx of Christmas gifts.  Partly due to necessity (where on earth do people store all this shtuff?) and partly because I noticed they would take out all of their toys, leave the living room looking like a hurricane (or, ahem, two hurricanes) had hit, and then...not play with them.  We are on a three-week rotation-two canvas bins of toys sit up in their room, with the current week's toys downstairs in a wicker basket and on a couple of shelves dedicated to their toys/books-and I switch toys every Monday morning.  I'm not sure if it's because of the toy rotation itself, or because they are getting older (or, like most things in life, a combination of both), but they are much better at playing together and entertaining themselves.  Bonus: I have a much higher tolerance for the cacophony of songs, since I only have to listen to their singing toaster or lantern (yes, those are actual things, and of course, both Caden and Brooklyn looooove them, and who the heck thought, y'know what?  Kids would love a toaster singing about toast!  And a singing lantern that sings about...fireflies, right!?!  And who the heck would've thought that this person would be RIGHT?!?) for a week at a time before it gets packed away for the next two (breathes sigh of relief).

Baby-Led Weaning

This was born more of necessity than anything.  Spoon-feeding them purees wasn't always the easiest thing, especially during the day when I was alone and needed to occasionally try to eat something myself.  I started giving them more and more baby-sized foods on their trays so I could eat my own meals at the same time.  Pretty soon they were OVER the whole being-fed-with-a-spoon business.  They only really ate purees for a hot second (okay...maaaaybe six weeks or so?) before now almost exclusively feeding themselves.  I'm not sure that we do "true" baby-led weaning, since I usually cut everything up into baby-friendly pieces, but 95% of the time they eat some version of what Tyson and I are having (sometimes slightly modified to exclude a sauce or seasoning, like salt).  We still will spoon-feed them yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast, and occasionally mashed sweet potatoes with dinner, but the bulk of their meal is usually things for them to munch on themselves.

Easy-Cleanup Sheet

But having them feed themselves is messy, yo.  (To say that sentence is an understatement is an understatement in and of itself.)  Our apartment is also almost completely wall-to-wall carpeting, including in the dining area.  (Guess what one of the first things is that I'm going to look for in a new place when we move?  Just guess!)  While I'm sure this is hardly a novel idea, we throw an old sheet down under their chairs during mealtime.  It catches most of their food scraps, washes up easy, and just needs to be shaken out between meals.

Crib Toys

Now that they are a little older, we leave "quiet" toys in their cribs.  They each have a book, a soothing seahorse, and one or two other soft toys (I try to rotate the book and soft toys occasionally).   Since they tend to be crap nappers (though they are getting waaaaaayyyyyy better), these toys keep them occupied until I feel like they've been out of my way long enough.  Besides the toys, they keep each other pretty well occupied when they wake up from their naps...one perk of having twins!

No Eye-Contact...

...when I'm trying to put them down for naps.  I usually put one baby in their crib with their quiet toys while I rock the other to sleep.  If I catch the crib-baby's eye, it's all over. Somehow, they know. They immediately whine, point, and want me to hold them, too. However, if I don't make eye contact, or heck, even look at them, I can rock their sibling to sleep in record time.  This also works when I'm trying to eat lunch while they are playing. They can be perfectly content, but if they see me look over at them, I immediately have two puppies at my feet begging for scraps of food and to be held.

This has been up for a few weeks now, and remains an interesting activity for them besides all of their toys.  Also part of my attempt to get them interested in my side of things early on, instead of Tyson's interests, like...math.  (Kidding!  I hope they are also really good at math.)


Like most kids their age, they LOVE things that aren't toys.  Each day I give them things that I would otherwise be tossing right into our recycling bin (water bottles, boxes, laundry detergent jugs, etc.), they play with the day's offerings, and I recycle them each night.  They get a new rotation each day so it's kind of like having different toys to play with each day. Yesterday Caden spent the better part of playtime putting blocks into an old tissue box. Whatever floats your boat, bud.