The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

I like it!

Let’s start with Saturday morning, obedience training. We had watched Cesar 911 Friday night and while I know a lot of his techniques are controversial, one of the things he talked about really stuck with me. Annabelle is often so crazed and distracted when we are at class or practice at home, and when she’s in that state of mind, she can’t listen. I worked on keeping her calm, and not letting her get worked up and it worked! She did really well. Granted, we practiced much different things this time, but she aced those things. It was so nice to come out of that hour feeling good.

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We only had about 30 minutes at home before we had to head out to the t-ball training camp. As everyone was gathering Delaney looked at me and said “I think we’re the oldest kids here.” Yep, they were. But, I still think it will be very good for them. They are getting exposed to all of the basics which is good, since they have no idea how to even run bases!

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From the looks of things, the high school baseball coaches run the camp? They all seemed very official in their gear, and I liked that they are actual coaches. They warmed up, ran the bases, then split into groups. The girls hit balls off the tee in their first group. Both connected well, and I think with a few corrections they’ll have it down.

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In the next two groups they took ground balls, in the last group they had to catch the ball and throw it back. They are so nervous about catching the ball, that they don’t watch it into their glove. I think if we focus on ground balls, they can get that concept without being worried I’m going to bean them in the face.

As we drove home the car got quiet and Caden said “I liked that.” Ha! After that I’m not sure she stopped talking. Maybe at lunch when she wolfed down her quesadilla and with a smile said she wished her meal came with two? It was clear that even though she didn’t catch or throw the ball perfectly, she had a lot of fun. I’m hopeful that attitude continues throughout the summer.

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Next up, gymnastics! They have improved so much this year! I’ve been really happy with our gym choice. I was a little surprised they did a spring show, but since my parents have never seen the girls do gymnastics, it seemed like a fun way to make that happen.

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I really had no idea what to expect, but they ran through the basics on each apparatus. The beam was definitely the highlight for both girls. Delaney did her “routine” probably four times? Each time with a different dismount! It was super fun to watch.

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After the show we grabbed some pizza and then honestly, I was quite done for the day (as was Delaney). We crashed on the couch and watched a little Nat Geo Wild until bedtime.

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There is a trick at gymnastics that Delaney has been working on for a while. She’s close, but she just can’t figure out that last little part. The girls mentioned that you need to be able to do this trick in order to go up a level (I’m not entirely sure this is true, but Caden can do it and I want them in the same level) so I told her we would work on it together.

Delaney needed a little extra core strength to be able to complete this move, so after I worked out in the morning I had her do some planks with me. She could hold a plan for a minute and a half! She loved timing herself. I showed her where her core muscles were, we talked about how to use them to bring herself up, and practiced the move as best we could at home.

Last night was gymnastics class and she did it! I was so proud of her! The best part was that she was super proud of herself. She couldn’t wait to come over after class and tell me she did it. (Even better, there were no competition kids there so I could actually see her doing it across the gym!)


Bird in a cage

The girls have very different strengths when it comes to gymnastics. Caden has killer ab muscles and so can do flippy things very well. She can kick herself over the bar, and tonight showed off on the rings. She would hang for a second, then bring her feet up to the rings, hook them in, then flip so she was hanging, then flip all the way over and jump off. She did this over and over and over, until finally the coach challenged her to do some handstands and other things.

Laney’s strengths are more around coordination. She’s very good at the tramp and cartwheels. But the rings? Not so much. She would swing and swing and swing her legs to get momentum going, but she has no ab muscles! And her feet were not going anywhere near those rings without some help. Eventually the coach would help her and she would flip and hang and flip again too.

It’s great to see your kids master a skill, but more than anything I always want them to keep trying. Delaney did some swings on a lower set of rings, but she also kept going back to the taller rings where she would try and try. After class she was so excited to tell me all about the bird cage (or bird in a cage?) trick. Oddly, Caden was more excited about the stuff they did on the beam. I’m not sure how much it mattered to either of them that Caden could flip away, and Delaney couldn’t, so I for sure didn’t bring it up. I did google some exercises to build core muscles in kids though.

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Back at Gymnastics

Last night was week two of gymnastics. We’re doing the community ed class again, because they’re cheap, the classes are small, and I know the kids have fun in between activities, all of which were the girls’ requests.

I have mixed feelings regarding these classes. The instructors are very hit and miss, and we’ve slogged through months where the girls weren’t learning anything new at all. When registering them for this session, I somewhat purposely registered them one level above where I thought they should go. They are relatively coordinated from dance, and I hoped that would help them out. Mostly, I didn’t want to sit and watch while once again, they did the exact same exercises they’d been doing since they were two. So far this year, I haven’t seen enough to know which way this will go. 50/50 it could go either way.

This week the vault was the first apparatus. The kids were supposed to do a tuck jump and get their feet up onto the vault. The older kids could do it. My girls jumped and then threw their entire body against the vault. Oops! She showed them how to bring their knees up to their chest, but the next run they went right at the vault again. I called them over and we discussed knees to chest and their last vault got significantly better. It was adorable, but I wondered if I had made a mistake.

I chatted with the coach after the class and she said they were fine. We’ll work on some things at home. They used to do very good tuck jumps, so I’m hoping they just need to remember some of the skills.

But, I still need a plan for next year. I can keep them in community ed lessons and hope we get a good coach. There is a gym that a neighbor girl goes to which is more than community ed, less than dance, that we could do. And then there is another gym that is more competitive that would probably be a similar cost to dance lessons.

I’d like to keep the cost down, but more than anything I want the girls to enjoy the lessons. I also want them to learn something though, so that needs to be taken into account as well. We’ll see how this session continues, but I’m leaning towards the middle tier gym with the neighbor girl. A friend to take lessons with, but also a more well equipped gym (and I’m assuming better coaches?), plus a friend for me to chat up during lessons.

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Push Them

We’ve been doing gymnastics for three years now? They started out in Tumbletots, graduated to Crickets, and now they are in Crickets II. We spent way too much time in Crickets though. Last session was awful. Their coach was nice and enthusiastic, but she acted like we were just there to kill time. Every week was the same. High kicks across the beam, frog jumps across the tramp, three swings on the uneven bars. Yawn. My girls can do that in their sleep! In fact, they did more challenging things in Tumbletots when they were two!

So this session I cornered their new coach and asked what types of things they would be doing. If they weren’t going to advance their skills, we were out. I don’t expect them to be doing backflips, but cartwheels would be nice you know? She promised that starting the next week she would be pushing the girls and doing much more advanced things with them than she’d done that first week. Thank goodness.

She has absolutely kept her word. Every week they start out with an obstacle course (every class does this). In the obstacle course alone she has them doing things they weren’t doing last time around! Pull arounds and toe touches on the uneven bars, spin jumps on the trampoline, the girls are grinning from ear to ear the entire time.

Once the move out into the equipment she has them do circuits. Bunny hops across the low beam, tuck jumps down the trampoline, and then over to her to do high kicks across the high beam with minimal help. Kids who cannot remember to get dressed and put their shoes on in the morning, can remember all of the different circuits. This week she had them doing moves that were clearly meant to strengthen their core muscles. I loved it! Their confidence has grown leaps and bounds, all because she is expecting more out of them than they’re used to.

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Gymnastics Year 3

This is our third year of doing gymnastics and in an awesome twist of fate, the girls’ coach is the same coach they had for their very first class. The girls wear their gymnastics sweatshirts to class every week and we were reminiscing about how when we ordered them from her they were huge, but now they actually fit!

I’m always amazed at how more coordinated they are from one year to the next. They did the vault last night and both girls can run, jump, tuck their legs and make it onto the vault in the same motion (the coach obviously lifts them up there). Last year they would hop a few times on the ramp and then go up. Their coach is definitely pushing them this year which is awesome. I would *love* for them to learn how to finally do a cartwheel!

I tried to get an updated shot of them in their sweatshirts but couldn’t. Instead, here’s Delaney in the gymnastics ‘suit’ she got this fall. She’s in love and wears it every week. So sparkly!

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Pull it over

Screw the collage, I do not have time.

One of the big things the girls have been working on this session is the pull over. Here is how it’s done.

1st – Pull your chin up to the bar. You’d think you just swing your legs around but no, chin up first.

2nd – Legs up and over!

3rd – Bring it around!

4th – Straighten, and lift yourself up high! This is Caden’s favorite part because she can prove that she is SO strong!

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Gymnastics Complete again

Last night was our last night of gymnastics for this session. The week before the coach said to bring your cameras along to take pictures. I’ve never brought my big camera into the gym because well, it’s a gym. The lighting is horrible. But, it’s still light out during our lessons so I figured I could maybe get some decent shots. If nothing else, I should probably have more than a few cell phone videos to capture this sport at some point!

First, a few videos of the girls attempting cartwheels. I had really hoped this was a skill they could master this time around, but they just never spend any time on it. This was the first time they’ve even gotten close though!

I love this picture of Laney doing her cartwheel, and Caden very intently keeping an eye on her!

Here are a few from the beam. I have a series from the uneven bars, but I need to remember how to put them into a collage.

Caden concentrating. What I love most about these two is that as soon as their turn is done, they race back to the beams low to the ground and start practicing.

High kicks! Laney’s kicks are very enthusiastic.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a gymnastics video. I stopped because they all looked the same. We usually do two sessions of gymnastics in the winter, and they don’t make a ton of progression until they go back the next year. But this year the time for swimming lessons didn’t work for us, so we did another round of gymnastics. And now, things are clicking! They’re making progress! I love it.

I think I’ve watched this video of Caden 20 times. She makes it look easy, but jumping on the springboard is difficult for the girls. Most of them run up to it, stop, then jump, then jump off. She does the jump and does a tuck jump off perfectly! So proud of her for this one.

And then we have Delaney. They’re supposed to jump and bring both feet up onto the mat at once. Caden has trouble with this one, but Delaney did it almost perfectly!


Tiny Bits

* Last week when we came in the house there was a weird chirping noise. I immediately backed everyone out and ran to the neighbors. Luckily, their 5-year-old boys are braver than I am and agreed to go in ahead. I was thinking bird? Mouse? No. It was the Dora swimming pool that the girls had dragged into the bathtub the night before. The batteries were drying out and it kept repeating it’s little saying over and over, at high speed. That wasn’t embarassing!

* Friday night I was heading out to a birthday party for a girlfriend and told the girls that Jeanine would be coming that night to stay with them. Neither of them wanted to miss a good birthday party, but I told them it was at a bar, and that meant it was only for grown ups. Delaney said “You NEVER take me to the bar!”

* Caden was looking really skinny last night at gymnastics. She’s been on a mostly yogurt and chicken diet, so I weighed her when we got home. Last time she weighed 30.8, this time 31.0! I guess the chicken and yogurt diet is working!

* We had no naps at all this weekend. Both girls fell asleep immediately at school, and they had to wake Caden up five minutes after naptime was over. I thought with such great naps they would be up until all hours last night but no. Meltdowns 10 minutes before bedtime, and immediate quiet at lights out.

* There’s a girl in their gymnastics class that just doesn’t seem to get it. I’m not sure if this is her first time in gymnastics or what, but I won’t fault her for her deliberateness with the moves. But, she doesn’t listen. At all. And it drives Delaney bonkers. And it cracks me up so much to watch Delaney go crazy at how this girl just won’t listen because of course, the girl always seems to be right next to Laney.

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