Saturday, January 26, 2013

From the Nursing Chair: Breastfeeding at Four Months

The sweet stuff:
They hold hands sometimes. They each other and at me.

The sour stuff:
They punch each other in the throat/eye/forehead, grab a fistful of boob and pull it out of the other's mouth.

The gross but cute stuff:
They suck on each others fingers.

The short-lived stuff:
They fall asleep.

Ah, sleep. The twin mom's obsession.

We are going to be sleep training next week, mainly because the boys don't fall asleep on their own anymore. Ever. Like, ever. They need nursing, rocking, bouncing, or a stroller ride to snooze. All night. Every nap. Amidst thoughts of "where did I go wrong?" I question whether this is a problem.

When they are both peacefully cuddled up next to me, I bask in their sleepy noises and little puffs of breath and it's not a problem, it's the best, most natural thing ever!

When one of them stirs after only 20 minutes, wakes the other with attempts to settle, finally reattaches and goes to sleep, but now the other one is awake/crying/wet/wants to play, it's a problem. A big problem. I have bounced an energetic 4-month-old on my right while another baby is sleepily sucking away on my left. It's not fun. For anyone. And it's worse when I just. Have. To. Pee.

I used to worry a lot about the boys having to adjust their own internal rhythms to match another person. It's not fair, not natural, they are short-changed, how will we ever get to know them as individuals, blah blah blah. I was an idiot.

The same schedule gives twins the opportunity to do the same thing at the same time. Different schedules and non-independent sleep take away the ability of twins to meet their unique needs.

We offer food at the same time. Squeak and Squish control how much they take in. By offering a common nap time, away from mom, the boys will get to determine their own sleep, as well as enjoy play time that is not curtailed by a slumbering brother.

Oh yeah, and maybe their mom won't go crazy because she'll have a chance to pee/eat/shower.

This is how I'm preparing myself for sleep-training. Wish me luck.

Friday, January 25, 2013

In Which I'm a Wuss at the Library

Toddlers make me nervous as hell.

Yesterday I ventured out with the boys to visit Baby Rhyme and Story Time, a great program offered at our library. A good 25 minute schlep dodging rain clouds and we were there! Amazing how getting Outside, in any capacity, for any reason, is so much better than sitting around the apartment staring at each other.

was surprised to see about 30 adults, each with 1-2 small charges. The library website said the target audience was 0-18 months, but some of those kids totally looked 2 or 3 years old. And those were the ones careening around the room, picking their noses, opening cabinets, and encroaching uncomfortably close to where Squeak and Squish were staring bug-eyed at the whole circus-like production.

Doing these Mommy-and-Me deals isn't so easy with twins that don't sit up on their own yet. Squeak promptly fell asleep (so much for an enthusiastic review there!), but Squish was all about it. I set him on my lap and held his little hands to do all the motions for the songs. We weren't close enough to see the book (it was really crowded) but he didn't seem to mind because there were all those kids to look at. He watched them in absolute wonder. 

It didn't take long for us to be noticed either. In the course of five minutes, four different kids came over and peered at the boys, some uttering "Baby," before wandering away; others shyly sidling up and creeping ever closer. Why did I feel surrounded by a hungry, scheming pack of mini-wolves?! I tried to shake my apprehension, but toddlers are just so unpredictable. After sizing you up (creepy in itself), they could just as soon smack you as smile at you. And the total lack of boundaries. And the germs. There, I said it. They all look like walking, talking totems of bacteria.

Then one of Them approached. Finger lodged firmly in the back of her gums, snot trickling down into her mouth, other hand tugging at her grubby dress - she came right up and put her hand on Squeak, who was dozing in his car seat. She was actually quite gentle, and her care-giver immediately pulled her away and apologized, but I was already knee-deep in a silent freak out. Another human! A stranger! Touched! My sleeping infant! With a moist hand!

As I tried to calm the f-@! down, Story Time Lady announced free play time and pulled out a big box of awesome-looking toys. Squish literally wriggled with anticipation. He was loving those plastic cylinders with colorful beads in them and the children literally crawling over one another to play with them. The kid leaned forward to join in the fray.

I briefly considered jumping in, since I could protect him on my lap, but what was I going to do with Squeak? The play mat is no place for a sleeping infant, carseat or no. As I debated, an exuberant toddler dashed headlong over a seated child. Care-givers rushed toward the tangled heap. Before the cries could even start we were packed up and hitting the road. I'm not even sure Squish had time to register disappointment, though I felt really bad for taking him away from all the fun.

I know some day I'll have toddlers. Two of them. Four sticky little hands, two constantly runny noses, and oh my deity, the diapers. I'll probably realize how awesome these little youngsters are (expect a blog post!), but for now, heaven help me, the pint-sized persons turn my bones to jelly.

I just hope I can build up some courage before Squeak and Squish need me to have it.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thank You, Universe

Being a parent to 3-month-old twins is hard.

I get lost in the minutae of the much sleep they've gotten today, how the hell we're going to transfer from 5 naps per day to 3 without ever staying awake longer than 2 hours (math = more fun with sleep deprivation!), and how to institute that perfect bedtime routine.

But thankfully the universe delivers periodic reminders of the big picture.

Yesterday, Mr Awesome and I loaded the boys into the Baby Bjorns and set off to Golden Gate Park. We took a beautiful walk around Stow Lake. He goes back to work tomorrow, after a wonderful vacation together, and our conversation was drifting from our fun holiday memories to the logistics of returning to our daily routine. There is simply too much to do in a day, and inevitably our needs are not going to get totally met. My back was starting to ache with the weight of it all. And the weight of little Squeak. He's getting so heavy!

Suddenly we hear a shout, "Are they twins?" A family was drifting alongside us in a paddle boat. Two tousle-headed boys pedaled in tandem, the parents reclining peacefully in the back. Grins adorned each face.

"Yes," we called back. "Three months." We must have looked it too, with our tired eyes and spit-up stains and my awful too-big-but-still-the-only-fitting maternity jeans.

The parents' voices were full of sincerity. "It gets so much easier. It a few years, they will be carrying you!" They gestured to their 11-year-olds, cheerfully ferrying their parents around the lake. "Two is much better than one. They're best friends and we have so much fun. It really does get easier."

I absolutely believe them.

Keep sending me reminders, universe, that one day all the tiny things I worry about will be a distant memory, that change is inevitable, that the days are long but the years are short.

That the thing to do with abundance is to embrace it.