Another whirlwind month in the journey of raising vegan toddlers! The boys are 18 months old for another couple of days, and there have been many exciting transitions during this pivotal month.
Astral and Defy had their 18 month well baby check up (their first visit to the Dr. for any reason since they were 12 months). Their pediatrician said they were doing EXCELLENT! I had been worried because they had not been eating as much as usual, but the doctor said they were both really healthy weights and there was no reason to be anxious. Pediatricians aren’t nutritionists, and as supportive as our doctor has always been of raising the boys on a vegan diet, she never ceases to amaze us with her questions and concerns. While discussing all the nutritious foods the boys eat she asked, "so what are their protein sources?" Lucas and I just paused a second, shot each other a quick look, and continued slowly naming all the foods they eat. It seems like most people just automatically assume you can only get sufficient protein from animals and their bodily functions, and doctors are no exception. I mean seriously, FRUITS, VEGETABLES, BEANS, NUTS, LEGUMES, SEEDS, GRAINS (virtually all plant foods) are all sources of protein, people!!!!!
What Astral and Defy ate for dinner one night this week:
adzuki bean cutlets
mashed red skin potatoes
kale, bok choy, romaine hearts, flax seed oil smoothie
coconut milk yogurt with fresh strawberries
banana slices with peanut butter
Does this meal lack sufficient protein??? I think not!!!
And every visit she brings up concerns about B12 although we tell her every time that the boys receive a weekly oral methylcobalamin spray supplement in addition to all the fortified coconut milk and nutritional yeast they consume daily. She seems to think that just by being vegan they are at risk of B12 deficiency. Nope, they're no more at risk than anyone else, thank you! We're happy she's concerned but it is getting rather annoying.
Astral weighed 27 lbs 13 oz and Defy weighed 26 lbs 11 oz, they were both in the 50-75th percentile for weight (not that we give a flying crap about those statistics, but just to give people out there an idea they might be able to relate to). As for height I don’t remember off hand how many inches they were, but the pediatrician said they were very tall and the exact same height, coming in at the 90-95th percentile. They’ve come a long way from those delicate little infants that we could hold in the palms of our hands. We don’t go back to the doctor for another check up until they are 2 years old.
I have been so excited to announce that DnA officially sleep alone in their rooms in their own toddler beds!!!! We started by weaning them off of night nursing (so emotional for me) with Lucas going back to being the one that comforts them during the night if they wake. Once my boobs and I were taken out of the equation the boys started sleeping better and for longer stretches of time. It has been about 2 weeks, and every night gets better. If they happen to cry out during the night Lucas goes into their room and rubs their backs until they go back to sleep. At times he still ends up falling asleep in there with them for a little while, but mostly they are on their own. They sleep at night from around 9:30pm until about 8:30am. Nice!
So now that we have our room and bed back Astral and Defy have decided that their nice afternoon naps of about 2.5 to 3 hours should be slashed to a short 30-45 minute nap. Lucas would use that time to get things done around the house, wash the cloth diapers, exercise, read, prepare food, and on the rare occasion relax, but now he basically has no time to do anything. Hopefully, this is just a phase. These kids just have so much powerful energy.
As far as nursing goes, I am down to nursing the boys once a day during the week and twice a day on the weekends. I usually nurse them right when I get home from the office. I still cherish that mommy/baby time with them. I don’t know when I will completely wean them, but I am pretty sure I will just let them naturally lose interest as they are already beginning to do.
They are doing so awesome with potty training and already try to pee standing up! They have a new thing they do where they refuse to keep their diapers or pants on. We let them run around naked when it is time to try to use the potty, but they want to be naked all the time. I wouldn’t have a problem with nakedness, but it equals pee and sometimes even poop on the floor and that just gets to be a big stressful mess! I don’t know what other people have done about their own diaper bandits, but any advice is appreciated. We’ve tried the backwards diaper thing and keeping pants on them, but they still know how to rip off the diapers and the pants! One day this past weekend I think I put their diapers back on almost 15 times in like 5 minutes. Talk about DRAINING!!!
Another messy but less annoying change for the boys is that they are now sitting at the dining table with us. We are so thankful that their appetites seem to be back on track. They joined us at the “big kid table” only a few days ago and they seem to really love it. Their highchairs have been retired as highchairs. Not only are they made of recycled materials but they also transition into little toddler desk/chair sets, so they will still be of use. Astral and Defy have already figured out how to break free by unstrapping themselves from their booster seats, so keeping them distracted during meals is very important. They are still the most dangerous tiny twosome around. Sometimes we feel like we are watching a toddler version of the show Jackass with the gnarly stunts they pull, only Astral and Defy are actually interesting and fun to watch. They play off of one another jumping, rolling and swinging off of anything and everything.
Our guys are continuing to add more words to their vocabulary, this week they both said Tofu in their adorably angelic little voices! They are learning to indentify objects by their colors and to point out the numbers 1-5 in pictures. They are perfecting their fine motor skills and really try hard to use their fingers to represent the numbers, but so far have only mastered 1, 4, and 5, though 2 is right coming along.
We continue to be thankful every day to have the opportunity to witness these two phenomenal beings grow into the people they will become. We learn so much from them and for them every day. Being a parent can be the most challenging and the most beautifully rewarding part of life at the same time. We still think back to when we thought that we were having one child. We had no clue what the future had in store for us at that time, and the same is still true…