We’ve gone through some major changes at home in the last couple of months. First we took back some of our house by removing the gate between the living room and kitchen as well as the gate at the bottom of the stairs in the living room. We decided that the boys were good enough at going up and down the stairs by themselves that it was safe to remove that gate. We also feel that the boys have a solid grasp on the kitchen and what parts of it are hot. That gate had been nothing but annoying since we installed it – tripping, grabbing, and bothering everyone who walked into our kitchen. It also collected dirt and cramped the kitchen by forcing our dog bowls and trash can into a tight space. We have to be a tad bit more cautious when cooking, but not much more than we were in the first place. All that is left for gates are the gate to the dining room and the gate to the hallway.
We removed our gates as an experiment, leaving the mounting hardware in the wall until we felt that we really didn’t need them any more. Things have been fine thus far. The boys go up and down the stairs without issue on their own and we haven’t had any kitchen problems. We do have to deal with some “I’m going upstairs” exploration missions but they are generally benign. Our biggest issue has actually been with Hannah; she can now freely run upstairs and hide in our bedroom in the morning when we need to leave the house 🙂 We have since removed the mounting hardware from the walls and need to spackle and paint the holes. Some day.
Around the same time we took down the gates we also started experimenting with open-top cups. The boys have been using them at school for breakfast since they joined their room last April but we’ve shied away from them at home due to the mess. The boys tended to toss their sippy cups around and leave them all over the place so we didn’t want to add spills to that. We finally decided to take the plunge and give them open-top cups, starting during meals with a small amount of liquid. Originally the boys were not allowed to bring their cups out of the dining room but now they can bring them into the kitchen or set them on the edge of the coffee table in the living room. We’ve certainly had spills (mostly from Zach who doesn’t always pay attention) but overall it hasn’t been too bad. The worst spill was actually over Christmas vacation when Adam dropped a cup on the tile and apple juice splashed all over our wall.
I mentioned a coffee table earlier and that has been a new addition as well. As soon as the boys were born we moved our coffee table to the basement to make more space. As they learned to crawl and walk we kept it out of the room so they wouldn’t bump it and get hurt. We finally decided to bring it back a couple of months ago because we desperately needed a place to set a plate, a cup, or any other thing we didn’t want on the couch. We didn’t know if they would destroy it, but it was a cheap $20 table from Wal-Mart so the risk was low. Once again, the table has been pretty successful. There have been a couple of bumps but that’s it. The boys actually really like it because they can put their toys on it and play or snack at it.
To round out the year we started officially potty training which is obviously a huge change as well. They boys have been doing a great job with it and will be starting back at school again tomorrow. We’ve been using a combination of underwear and pull-ups and will transition away from the pull-ups when it is appropriate. As a result of the new bathroom skills, we have to get rid of all of the boys’ onesies because the buttons don’t make for a very quick transition. We’ll also be able to get rid of the diapers and related accessories. We got rid of our last changing table a couple of months ago as well.
A lot has changed in the last few months at our house, each change bringing with it a bit more of our adulthood. We’ll have toys, stuffed animals, a toilet, and a box of underwear around for a while but we are getting a bit closer to normal now. It’s nice for us and it represents just how fast the boys are growing! I feel like they have matured so much in the last three months it’s crazy! They have full conversations, express ideas, talk with us and each other, do things at their own will, help around the house, ask tons of questions, drink from real cups, use a real toilet! They are becoming so independent and it’s starting to get really, really fun. They are shedding all of that baby stuff and becoming independent individuals. It’s amazing to watch.
Oh, and add one more thing to the list: tonight they ate at the table without their booster seats. They’ll be in college in no time 🙂