Twins: 4.5 months old

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The twins did soooooo well sleeping through the night for 4+ weeks that we decided to officially move them out of our room and into the nursery.  (Good job twinsies!)

We must’ve jinxed it.

They went from FANTASTIC sleepers to waking up 5-6 times at night (now take that number and multiple it by two.)

I didn’t see it coming, so when they woke up during the night I though it was a fluke and would only feed one baby before groggily plodding back to bed.  45 minutes later the other baby would wake crying.

At least I could nap during the day, right?  Wrong.  They were tag-teaming me even then!  I wasn’t being diligent about their schedule so one would wake from a nap RIGHT as the other was falling asleep.

It’s a vicious cycle. I think I went 10 days without more than an hour of consecutive sleep, day or night.

One of these night, D was working late and wouldn’t be home until long after everyone was asleep.  It had been a rough afternoon/evening of sass and fighting from the big kids, although I’d fed them dinner I’d never gotten a chance to eat and was starving.  I hadn’t eaten because the babies were off schedule and angry screaming in unison.  (Sounds funny but it sends my stress levels through the roof.)  I was trying to keep my voice steady as I sang the nighttime lullabies and do the normal cheery routine as if they weren’t balling their eyes out but it looked like a long night ahead and tears kept dripping off my face.  At this moment, Kimchi snuck out of bed for water and saw me crying and ran up and threw his arms around my neck. “Tomorrow, Mom, I want to be so much better.”   

So, what caused the sleepless-ness?  All sorts of sickness raged through our family in the past month (stomach flu?  headcold?).  Pollution has been up which causes labored breathing for Colt.  They both have the constant drool and hot swollen gums indicative of teething.  Bonnie had an episode of night terror.  Our neighbors septic blockage seeped into our place in the middle of the night causing disruption.  The list goes on and on but I think it was just a growth spurt.

I believe if they don’t get enough calories during the day they will wake up during the night to get in extra feeds. And the twins woke up starving!

D and I talked about introducing food or supplementing with formula.  The thought of them being hungry makes me feel awful.  I know there’s a limit on how much my body can do for them. Right now it’s providing 100% of the sustenance to sustain 35 lbs worth of babies.

Anyway, a few days into the sleepless nights, we moved them back into our bedroom.  We made a battle plan. I fed them more frequently during the day and made an extra effort to get in full feeds.

The last two nights (March 20th and March 21st) they’ve sleep through the night (mostly–8:30pm to 5:30, then they’ll go back to sleep until 8am.)  SO GREAT!!   I hope this means they getting adequate nutrition.  I’m still apprehensive about it.

And, I am still extremely exhausted.  (I unloaded and put away an entire dishwasher’s worth of dirty dishes.  They’re all mixed in now.)  So very sleepy.  G’night blogosphere.

Ramblings on sleep and poop.

D was gone on a business trip right around the twin’s 3 month “birthday.”  Before he left, I was apprehensive about him leaving because evenings with the twins were still challenging.

During the day, the babies had a pretty predictable, consistent schedule and would go down for naps without fussing. Evenings were a different story.  The evenings unfurled without a plan or schedule, which worked fine when they were tiny but around two months of age, the evenings became frightful.  I could feel it coming on as the sky darkened.  The babies would cry because they were EXHAUSTED so we’d put them in their beds and they’d cry even harder without falling asleep.  When they actually did fall asleep they’d wake 15 minutes later crying again!  It was so stressful I felt like my insides were being wrung.  This cycle repeated from about 8pm to 11pm.  (My sister Lindy can attest to how awful it was because she was here at the peak of it.)

Anyway, I was nervous to face that solo. BUT the business trip turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was forced to face it!  My two ideas were to:

  1. establish a bedtime routine (and I love the phrase, “start as you intend to continue”–in other words, I knew the routine had to be short and simple) and
  2. to put them to bed earlier, before they became over-tired.

I planned on the plan not working and continuing to experiment but–BOOM!–the first try worked!!  And suddenly the evenings were calm and tear-free!  (And I’m pretty sure the babies were saying, “Thank you Mommy!!  Finally you understood what we were saying!)  The days were already great so when the nights fell into place–life with twins became so doable.

  • The twins started off sleeping 11p-6:30a (that was when the evening schedule was still bad.)
  • Then the twins began sleeping 9p-6:30a (that was when a bedtime routine was implemented)
  • Now they are consistently sleeping 9p-8a

How the twins have changed since last month:

While D was on his business trip, baby Bonnie began rolling over and baby Colt laughed for the first time.  Three months old is a big deal!

Of course they’ve grown. Colt is 17+ lbs.  Bonnie is 15 lbs. 8 oz.  They seemed to jump from wearing 3-month clothing to wearing 9-12 month clothing.  Today baby Bonnie is wearing an outfit Tofu wore when she was walking.

Baby Bonnie is amazingly mobile for 3 months.  Each time I go to get her up from her nap she’s rotated and in a difference part of the bed with an arm or leg through the slats of the crib.  I thought I was going loco(!) until I watched her scoot through the play mat and out across the wood floor.  She repeatedly digs in her heels and pushes off. 

Baby Bonnie has also become fascinated with Colt’s face.  It is by far her favorite thing to look at.  She will scan the room until she finds him.  Colt doesn’t really seem to be aware of baby Bonnie. (Although, they sleep with a blanket rolled in between them so they don’t knock heads.  One night I pulled out that blanket roll to re-roll it and Colt looked to the right and almost jumped out the crib he was so startled by seeing baby Bonnie’s little.  His eyes were bugging out of his face, “What?!  How long has she been there?”)

Also, Baby Bonnie fasted from going #2.  It had been 4 days and I was worrying but she hadn’t shown any signs of discomfort.  On Sundays at church, I get to catch up with my twin-mom friend.  She has boy-girl twins exactly a month older than Colt and Bonnie.  She was inspired when she asked me, “has either baby stopped pooping?” She went on to tell me her daughter just stopped “going” right around 3 months.  She lives on base and has access to military medical care so she took her daughter to a pediatrician who said up to 14 days can be normal, even for babies who are EBF!!!! Who knew?! 

Baby Bonnie has become more content.  Baby Colt has become a lot more fussy.  So they reversed roles.

Things that make twins easier than they could be otherwise:

All the obvious things: when they nap, when they nap at the same time, when they entertain themselves, when D is home, having the crock pot make dinner.  Keeping a record of WHEN they eat and sleep so that when they are fussy I can anticipate what they need.

The twins are heavy sleepers.  Colt naps in a travel crib in the middle of the living room. Even with the vacuum or blender going or a house full of kids, jumping and screaming on the trampoline a few feet from his face, he stays asleep.  Bonnie sleeps in the nursery but the door is open and we can go about normal life without worrying about her waking.    

My mom.  Just talking to her on the phone will refill my emotional energy tank.  She is a fantastic listener, non-judgmental, cheerful and empowering.  I’m so lucky to be her daughter.

My neighbor Elexis.  I found myself telling someone, “she’s one of the most Christian people I know!”  Then I couldn’t stop laughing at myself.  Because she’s an observant Jew (head covered, only eats kosher, follows Shabbis laws, etc.)  I was using the term “Christian” like “magnanimous,” because they are synonyms to me. I see her everyday.  She keeps my sanity in check when I don’t get out.  She takes Huey to the playground.  She sits with the babies most days while I go to meet Bradshaw from the school bus. 

Things that make having twins hard:

All the obvious things.  Double the work. Even worse; double, triple, quadruple the mommy-guilt.  Even when I am being the perfect, sing-songy, affectionate, attentive mom to one baby; there’s always the other baby that I feel like I’m totally neglecting. I tried to trick them into thinking they were getting personal attention by laying them cheek-to-cheek, but baby Bonnie is a grabber.  (Poor Colt has had his wee hairs pulled and his eyes gouged a few too many times.)  I used to dance around the house with both of them but at a combined 33 lbs, my back is starting to hurt and they’re so floppy it’s now too risky to balance both.   I worry that one or the other will have long-term consequences from not being held enough.  (It was incredibly nice when my sister Lindy was here.  Both babies were loved 24-7.)

Not having a pediatrician.  There is no such thing as “well-baby” visits in Korea.  (There are still immunizations but they take place at a clinic.  Five-minutes in and out.)   There are so many things I miss about having a pediatrician; for example, twins tend to have more health issues, I wish I knew how they are doing developmentally!!!  And it would give me great peace of mind if there was one doctor/practice that knew my babies and kept their medical history and we could go there every time I worried about a cold, an ear infection, torticollis, the works.

Not having a car.  Four little people to keep track of, two of which cannot walk, and it is bitterly cold outside.  Granted, we’re in a city with public transportation.  We learned the hard way that my double stroller fits through the front door on the bus, but not the exit door.  (Panic!)  Bus.  Most things aren’t within walking distance. By foot.  Taxi’s are ideal, but the they’re hybrid.  They are great for the environment, but there’s no trunk space for a stroller.  Taxi.  So subway it is!!  We don’t live off a main line, so we need to plan on 2 hours rt transit most places.  Deep breath.

Things I would have done differently if I started over with newborn twins:

I would have acquired a hospital-grade pump before the babies arrived, in case they couldn’t nurse.  The hospital told me they would have one available I could rent but they didn’t.  I think most of my low milk supply issues can be attributed to waiting too many days to begin pumping.  I’m still exclusively breast-feeding but each day threatens to be the last.  (I attained my previous goals.  Hooray, hooray!!!  My new goal is to make it to 6 months.)

I would have had them take naps in the same crib from the beginning.  I wanted them to nap so badly that I put them in separate places to sleep.  Baby Bonnie in the crib in the nursery; baby Colt in the travel crib in the middle of the living room. (Sounds like a game of Clue, right?)  Now, if I combined them, I think they wouldn’t fall asleep together.  They have totally different sleep styles.  Baby Colt loves his binkie and needs to be swaddled.  Give him those two things and he’s out within 60 seconds.  Baby Bonnie doesn’t take a binkie, goes unswaddled, and often lays in bed for twenty minutes talking and looking at the mobile before falling asleep.  Also, baby Colt seems to wake up, look around and go back to sleep several times during his naps.  It is his norm.  I love that both of them go down easily for a nap.  Would that change if I put them in the crib together?  Would it lose the magic?  I wish I’d put in the effort to have them napping together from the start.

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