Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I have to say, life with twins is NEVER dull! Boring, sometimes, yes. But dull, definitely not. Separation anxiety has set in with full force, and while it's nice to know your kids need you, it's rough when someone is trying to help so you can just get something done and there is always at least one baby still crying for you. Sometimes it's enough to just sit on the floor while they entertain themselves, but don't even think about walking to the other side of the room to throw something away .... then it's panic!

We are STILL having sleep problems, but we're working on it. As usual, the fact that our house is a complete disaster and the remodel won't be done any time soon is making things much harder. We still don't have a room for Turtle, and he's starting to outgrow sleeping in a pack n play. We currently have another family member staying with us to help while my husband is traveling (he'll be traveling something like 2.5 weeks within the next month), but as soon as she leaves, I think it's time to turn our office/temporary guest room into a second nursery, with the actual crib and his clothes. Hopefully by the time we have any more guests, we'll have another bedroom. Alternatively, if we can get Tadpole to sleep through the night, in theory they could sleep together, the problem is when one of them wakes the other one up, it's all over. We can't let them cry because they keep waking each other up and neither can get back to sleep with the other crying.

Anyway, people constantly talk about how much Tadpole and Turtle do or don't look alike, which is a bit silly, as fraternal twins aren't any different than any other sibling pair (biologically speaking), they just happen to be the same age. There's no reason for them to look more alike than normal siblings. However, sometimes I can't help comparing their different personalities and behaviors and marvel at how different they are. For example:

- Tadpole LOVES her pacifier.
- Turtle also loves Tadpole's pacifier, but can't figure out what he's supposed to do with it once he has stolen it.

* This is sort of a catch-22. I will possibly need to wean Tadpole from the pacifier, but at least it keeps her from putting everything in her mouth like Turtle.

- Tadpole crawls really well, and will probably walk soon because she is fearless.
- Turtle is stronger, sturdier, and more stable than Tadpole, but still doesn't crawl well and is too afraid to try to walk.

- Tadpole eats almost anything, and is at least willing to give anything a try. She's just not too picky.
- Turtle is suspicious of everything, and usually makes an awful face after the first bite, even if he ends up liking it.

- Tadpole is always happy, hyper, and excited. She smiles at everyone, wakes up in a great mood, and has a perpetual twinkle in her eye. She is super busy and into everything.
- Turtle is often cranky, whiny, and difficult. You have to work for a smile, and he often wakes up in a terrible mood. He is studious and generally patient, except with Tadpole.

There's a lot more, but it would take forever to write it all. Suffice to say that we are all doing well, still working on sleeping, but by the way, naptime is going much better! Thank you, white noise machines!

More soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

9.5 month update

Ah, Tadpole. The smiliest, happiest, most hyper, most fearless baby I've ever seen. I have a feeling she'll someday follow in her parents' footsteps and become a rock climber, but I sometimes worry she may get into something even more extreme. She weighed in a little over 19 pounds at her 9-month appointment this morning.

She is so full of energy and so athletic. While her brother is stronger than she is, and clearly will be physically able to walk soon, I suspect Tadpole will beat him to it because she's not afraid of anything and willing to give everything a try. I LOVE taking her to swimming lessons, she's so enthusiastic and excited. One of her newest things is kneeling, then sitting back on her heels and bouncing up and down, waving her arms with excitement. She's starting to learn to wave hello and good-bye, but I don't think she understands what she's doing yet.

Turtle is a sweet, serious, moody, loving boy. He is very studious - when we show him music videos or clips of "Shaun the Sheep", he just sits and watches and studies everything. He likes to read books. He sits in my lap and listens while I read each page, and when I say "turn the page", he does. He LOVES turning the pages in books, and looks at everything I point out. He has a lot of patience, except with his sister. She annoys the heck out of him. He is obsessed with stealing her pacifier, and if she takes something from him, he gets incredibly frustrated and screams, trying to hit or push her. He weighed in at a little over 20 pounds at the doctor's today.

I taught both Turtle and Tadpole to "gimme five", which is the cutest thing ever. Turtle spontaneously taught himself how to clap a few days ago, and has been doing it randomly ever since. Sometimes we can get him to do it when we want, but otherwise I'm not sure why he decides it's clapping time. He was afraid of swimming for a bit, but is doing much better now.

These babies get into SO MUCH TROUBLE if I don't contain them. We have a gate up to close off our living room from the kitchen, so we can keep them in a safe place, but we often leave it open, especially when we are spending a lot of time in the kitchen and can keep an eye on them. The result is often something like this:

Uh oh, Mama caught us climbing into the dishwasher. What do we do now?

Help put away the dishes of course! Seriously, though, they LOVE the dishwasher, I don't know why. Maybe because it's not always open, so when it is, it's a real treat? This was the first time they ever actually climbed up on it, though. Whenever I see them playing here, I immediately take out the silverware holder, so don't worry, there aren't any sharp knives or forks in there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two sayings I hate

1. "After they're born, sometimes you'll wish they were back inside you."

Nope. Definitely not. For many reasons, but mostly because the last month or two of pregnancy was really quite miserable. I was so swollen and stiff. In the morning when I woke up, I couldn't move my fingers for a good ten or fifteen minutes, and only then by gradually and painfully working my way back to mobility. I couldn't write. I could barely type. My feet were humongous and I had no ankles. I barely fit into my husband's shoes. My back hurt, my hips hurt. I had heartburn. I couldn't sleep.

By the way, two years of infertility does NOT deprive me of my right to complain about the last few months of twin pregnancy. Especially to people like my husband, who got the benefits of having his dreams of having children realized without any of the physical uncomfortableness (unless you count having to sleep in the same bed with me and my giant body pillow).

Also, the first trimester wasn't all that great, what with the nausea and vomiting, and the second trimester was characterized by terrible hip pain, although it probably wasn't as bad as the first or the third. I DO think that pregnancy is totally worth it in the end, and I would do it all over again if I had to. And it wasn't all THAT bad. But being not pregnant is still better.

So yeah. I got SO SICK of people saying that to me. Because NO I DO NOT WISH THEY WERE BACK INSIDE, no matter how hard things get. I was quite happy to be pregnant and now I'm quite happy that it's over.

2. "Enjoy them, it goes by so fast." Or the related but actually different "they grow up so fast".

The time does not actually go by fast. I think that anything when viewed in retrospect seems like it goes by fast, except possibly spending a significant amount of time in solitary confinement. But to me, my whole life seems to have gone by pretty quickly, including the time before the last nine months.

I loved college. It seems like it went by so fast. I hated law school. It also seems like it went by so fast. So I don't really think that there's anything special about parenthood that makes life go faster. And I particularly don't like this statement because it creates a lot of pressure, which for me sort of ruins the moment. I don't want to feel like I HAVE to enjoy this moment all the time, because inevitably I get worried that I'm NOT enjoying it enough, and I'm squandering my childrens' childhood. And I HATE that. I just want to relax (ha) and enjoy it. And people say that stupid statement ALL THE FREAKING TIME. It drives me nuts!!!

The other similar statement is that "they grow up so fast", and this one is actually true. In nine months, they have gone from completely helpless little creatures who could wave their arms and legs around, drink milk, cry, and poop, to little miniature people who smile, laugh, "talk", sit up, roll, crawl, fight, eat "real" food, stand up, play with toys, bite, cry with real tears, splash, and interact with other people and the world around them. That's a LOT of change that happened in nine months, so yes, this is true.

Still, I hate it for exactly the same reason. I don't want the pressure of having to enjoy it, and worrying that maybe, just maybe, I'm not enjoying it enough. So people! (Not you, blog readers, but everyone else). STOP TELLING ME THIS, OK?!


Whew, thanks for letting me get that out of my system.

What do people regularly say to you that you hate? Besides "just relax" or "just adopt" or "he/she/they must have used fertility treatments".

Monday, April 11, 2011


I've been meaning to write for so long, about so many things. The kids are growing up so fast, they hit nine months a few days ago. But I've been in a funk, again. I don't know why. I was going to write about it, to try to figure it out, and then ...

I heard from my sister this morning. A friend of hers, someone who I knew who I would call an acquaintance (more of a friend of a friend), has died. He committed suicide. I don't know any of the details, but I had heard over a long time that he was unhappy, although you would never know it if you met him. He was one of the happiest people I knew, at least on the outside. I remember meeting him for the first time at the climbing gym, years ago. And I remember seeing him for the last time at a party last spring/early summer when I was very pregnant, and my feet were swollen up like huge balloons. And I know I saw him at least a few times in between, at various get-togethers with mutual friends.

For some reason, we never exchanged contact information, I never asked for his email or phone number, and I never friended him on Facebook. It wasn't a matter of not wanting to, it was just a matter of not ever thinking of it. I've always felt a bit awkward with friends of friends, not wanting to intrude on their friendship or overstep my bounds.

One of the things I've felt sad about recently is being very lonely. My husband is busier than ever at work, and now traveling all the time, too. He has even less free time, and of course he needs to spend it with the kids when he is around. My friends are slowly moving away, or moving on. I have only a few friends with kids, and most don't live too close. Being on my own with twins, I've had a hard time making friends in my mom's group, and with my husband traveling or busy in the evenings, I've had to miss many social opportunities because there's no one to stay home and watch the kids.

This tragedy is making me think. I would like to just be introspective and cry, and I can't because today is the last day my in-laws are here and we're hosting a big dinner party we've been planning for weeks, and even if none of that were happening, I have two clingy little babies who need me. But still. I'm thinking about life. This isn't the first time this has happened in my life. My best friend's stepbrother, who was actually almost exactly my age (one day older) and who I knew quite well because I spent so much time at their house, committed suicide when we were in high school.

In both these cases, I don't think that I would have made a huge difference in the person's life and in their choice to end their life. But I don't know. Sometimes I wonder. Probably they have much bigger problems, and having an old acquaintance say hi isn't enough to solve them. But I know when I've been really sad and felt totally friendless, having someone unexpected show that they care makes a lot of difference.

I spend a lot of time lamenting that I have few friends, and yet I don't do a lot to BE a friend. In some ways, I've forgotten how. And I'm not really able to, right now. I can't stop in and visit or help someone in need, not with two babies who create chaos and need me constantly. I can't offer an ear to listen, or a quiet sanctuary to just hang out, not with two babies trying to climb me to get the phone or fighting with each other and needing me to separate/console/hug/play. I can't really figure out how to balance things. I don't even have any time for ME, let alone for others. And I'm realizing that not only do I feel that loss, probably my friends and acquaintances do, too.

Where am I going with this? I don't know. I am so sad by what has happened. And I know it's not about me, not at all. I'm sad I didn't get to know this person better, and now I'll never have the chance. I'm sad for his family and all his friends, those who were actually close to him. I know that I have learned something, though how I can apply it to my life, I don't know. I'm just so sorry that this had to happen in order for me to learn it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream

Yeah. I'm tired. Babies are nine months old tomorrow, and we are having sleep regression issues. I think we have a lot of reasons for it, but it's still frustrating. Here are some points about it:

1. Turtle has been sleeping through the night pretty regularly, but we've been swaddling him pretty much since birth. My hubby thought if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But I could tell he didn't like being swaddled and you can't do it forever. He'll be walking soon. And he was getting his arms out every night, so effectively he wasn't really swaddled anyway. So we've stopped swaddling him.

2. My husband is traveling a lot, so we have a constant rotation of helpers, all of whom do something different. Some don't let either baby cry at all. Some pick them up when they cry (we've never done this, we just try to feed them or comfort them in their cribs). My in-laws are now bringing Tadpole to bed with them. And yes, we DO tell them how to handle the babies, but it always starts evolving differently with different people.

3. The regression started with Tadpole waking up at 5am every morning. My husband started giving her a few ounces to get her back to sleep, then Turtle would get up at 6:30 and I'd get up for the day. Hubby kept insisting he didn't mind getting up for a few minutes at 5. Then Tadpole started getting up one other time during the night, usually any time between 11pm and 3am. Now sometimes it's three times. I try to let her have only a few sucks on the bottle and then give her a pacifier, and it works. So I don't think she's hungry. But she keeps doing it, night after night.

4. Sometimes one of them will wake up and cry for over an hour for no reason. I'll try to calm them, feed them, give them a pacifier, and eventually pick them up and rock them, and they just scream through all of it. It's very frustrating. Eventually I turn on the light, undress them, and look for some physical reason, and I never find anything. Could this be night terrors?

5. The babies napping habits are terrible, partly made worse by our constantly changing living situation (traveling husband, various visitors and guests, loud construction, etc.). When I have a stretch of time alone, I get them on a fairly regular nap schedule at 9:30 and around 2ish, but they traditionally have take short naps - 30-45 minutes, or sometimes an hour or a bit more when I'm lucky. They often nap in the stroller or car instead of in their cribs. Even when I have them sleeping regularly at home, the construction workers wake them up often.

6. We don't have a bedroom for Turtle. He goes to sleep in a pack-n-play in our room, then we move him when we go to bed - to the office when we don't have guests, and to the living room when we do. This can be problematic for many reasons - the cat wakes him up, if Tadpole gets up first, she can't go play in the living room, etc. We won't have a bedroom for him for several months, probably.

Last night went like this:

7:30pm - babies go to bed, obviously tired. (They got up at 5am yesterday morning).

10pm - I go to bed.

10:15 - Turtle wakes up screaming. I try to calm him, and eventually pick him up and feed him (my MIL put him to bed and he only drank half his bottle, so I knew he was probably hungry).

12 - Tadpole is up. I go give her an ounce or so, and then her pacifier, and she goes back to sleep.

3 - Tadpole's up again. I hear one of my in-laws go, so I don't know what they did.

5 - Tadpole's up again. Ditto.

5:15 - Turtle is up. I try to calm him and comfort him by putting my hands on him and patting him, but nothing works. I let him cry, and he goes back to sleep on his own after about 5-10 minutes. (He did this yesterday, and when I tried to rock him, he woke up even more, so I knew that wouldn't work).

6:15 - Tadpole starts talking in her crib. FIL goes and brings her to bed with them. She keeps talking, so I know there's no way she's going back to sleep.

6:30 - Turtle wakes up screaming. The night is over.

It's ok with my in-laws here - handling this many wake-ups with three people is ok. It's not TOO bad when my husband is here, but it's not great, and he's not going to be here much in the next month. I really just want them to sleep, rather than constantly worrying about who's going to help me. I want a plan for when my in-laws leave that doesn't involve rocking and feeding and crying five times per night.

In general, I feel help is a double-edged sword. It's AWESOME to have people around to play with the babies, get up a few times at night, and let me have some free time and some sanity. The problem is, the babies and I all get used to having extra people around who have nothing else to do but play with them. They don't keep their normal schedules and routines. My helpers tend not to respect the rules and limits my husband and I have worked out. They spoil the babies, give them whatever they want, don't put them to nap at the right times, etc. It's a lot of work keeping on top of multiple people and making sure everyone is doing everything right. I let a lot of things slide, and it comes back to bite me in the arse every time.

So here are my questions:

1. What would you do with the slowly regressing night-time habits we're developing?

2. How do you handle help? Do you boss your friends and family around, or give them leeway to do things their way? Do you chastise them when they don't listen to you, or just give thanks that someone is here to help at all?

3. Do you think 7:30 is too late of a bed-time? Too early?

Thanks for any help!