Friday, July 23, 2010

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe

First, some housekeeping. Thought I'd mention that this is my 300th blog post. Not too much to say about that... just woo hoo!

And I have finally decided on blog nicknames for the twinklets. Why not keep it simple and use what I call them at home? Twin A will henceforth be known as "Nix." This is just one of the thirty-plus nicknames that the poor child suffers throughout the day by his dear mama, from The Nickster to Nicker Nickerson to Nicholas Nickleby. And Twin B, instead of Peanut, shall be called "Gax." This rather unattractive but surprisingly endearing nickname was bestowed by Bean, who had trouble pronouncing his brother's given name when he first came home from the hospital. (We have found the moniker lends itself to many adaptations, such as Gaxers, The Gaxinator, Gaxercising, etc.)

So there you have it, Nix on the left and Gax on the right.

I feel better now, don't you?

Moving on.

As the title of this post alludes, I wanted to give a little update/insight into life in our household with a toddler and twin infants.

Just as you might expect, there are incredibly good times, and then there are incredibly tough times. The tough times may last for a couple of hours, or a couple of days, or most recently, a couple of weeks. (Poor Allison had to endure quite a lot of them during her visit -- and yet she didn't race to the airport to catch an earlier flight home, stopping only to get her tubes tied on the way. Now that's a good friend for you.)

Our recent problems stem from the fact that we don't have any real schedule during the day, and the boys haven't been napping well, resulting in a pair of very grumpy munchkins. This is something I am just starting to work out, with the help of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" (worth it's weight in gold) and the rest of the cast and crew of this crazy show. With twins, it's become glaringly apparent that if you don't have any schedule, you will wear yourself out running from one to the other, trying to nurse and sooth and comfort one while the other screams bloody murder. Or at best, maybe they sleep okay, but it's at alternating times so you never get two seconds to pee or scarf down a sandwich.

Here's where I insert a question to other mamas out there. Specifically to those who have kiddos napping in cribs, because while babywearing and bedsharing is lovely, I certainly don't have the luxury to lay down with one twin while Bean and the other twin play chess. Any tips on getting your child to sleep, and stay asleep, in the crib? I am working on it and slowly seeing progress by putting them down almost asleep, then trying to sooth them if they wake up too soon. Easier said than done with two willful babes, but I'm trying. I've read many things -- some of them helpful, some of them completely beyond my abilities (thank you "The No Cry Sleep Solution"). But for you, personally, what worked? Was there lots of crying involved, because no matter what I try, it seems one twin is wailing while I'm trying to comfort the other? Even if I get them both down in their respective cribs, the naps rarely last more than 30-45 minutes, then I spend the next hour or two juggling double grumpy diaper-butts. But on the off chance an adult happens to have the time to hold them, the twins can sleep for 3 hours at a time and wake up happy as clams. ARG! And also just as important, how did you get them to nap at the same time? Was there sorcery involved, and if so, what is the magic word? (Because it's certainly not "please.")

When I was pregnant this last time, I thought that it would be very difficult to care for three children under three years old. But it turns out that, really, it's impossible. For me it is, at least -- I'm sure there are stronger women than me who manage just fine. This has been a difficult pill for me to swallow. I am so disappointed in myself that I have more children than I can care for, because I view people like Octomom and Kate Plus Eight as reproductively irresponsible. If I didn't have my parents here, I would have taken a long walk off a short pier by now. And don't get me wrong, I absolutely love having them in our house. Not only for the help, for which I am eternally grateful, but because we have a lot of fun together. I really do enjoy their company. I just wish their company wasn't necessary to keep me off a cocktail of mood stabilizers. It makes me feel like a sub-par mommy, and after infertility and C-sections and such, it's not a good thing.

And you know the craziest part? I'm devastated to know that I won't have any more kids.


But lest this post make me sound all woe-is-me, let me assure you that there are plenty of wonderful times around here. Thanks to help from my parents, I am not only able to shower EVERY SINGLE MORNING (and my teeth are pearly white *gleam*) but my mom and I take the kiddos out and about almost every day. Yesterday we took Bean and our traveling circus to a MOMS Club outing where he made pizza at a pizzeria. So adorable! (Pictures coming soon.) It's cliche but true, I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with my sons. I truly am happy to my core; I love being a mom, a mom with three kids, a mom with a set of twins. My heart smiles when I picture them growing up together.

I just need to figure out how to survive the first year. Or five.



Mary said...

Love the pics and the nicknames!!

We had a really hard time in the twinfant stage with the cribs, we had MUCH better luck getting them to sleep in the pack and play, I think it was smaller and cozier. The other thing that we had going for us was putting them in the same pack and play. I think Drew would have slept either way but Livi needed someone to sleep with and her brother was a good choice ;).

It wasn't until they were close to 4 or 5 months old that we had much success with the crib, and closer to 6 months when they would sleep in their own cribs.

Not sure how helpful that was but its what worked for us, also helped us keep them on the same schedule b/c they would wake each other up and be tired again at the same time.

Hang in there mama, I promise it won't always be this hard!

Mary said...

Oh and as far as length of nap, hate to tell you but I had 45 minute cat nappers for a LONG time, it really wasn't until they dropped to one nap at 15 months that naps got to the glorious 2 hours they are now. I just went with it and put them down every 2 hours like clockwork and inevitably they'd be up 45 minutes later. Kinda was hard to get out of the house b/c it was sometimes 4 45 minute naps a day but it worked for me b/c I didn't have a toddler to try to chase around and get to activities either. Sorry that probably wasn't very helpful, feel free to slap me now. . . .

And I can't help myself, we used the modified CIO approach in HSHHC with Livi, but not until she was 4/5 months old, with the going in at increasingly longer intervals to soothe, first 1 min, then 2 minutes, then 5 min, etc. Your two are probably too young for that yet but something to ponder for the future.

Kristina P. said...

Love the nicknames. It's like you're Angelina Jolie!

Red said...

Love the pic of the boys - boy are they growing up fast!

I persoanlly adore the No Cry Sleep Solution, but I must say that I only discovered it once Champ was about 6 months and so a little more pliable and open to sleeping by himself. Short of waiting out those first crazy months, I am sorry to say I have no advice to offer.

You sound like you are doing a great job, having help does not make you a lesser Mum, just human.

Courtney said...

I know things are different with twins. Okay, things are different with every baby. All my babies took naps in their cribs. My oldest got her training from daycare, not me. #2 and #3... sometimes the nap was in their crib, sometimes it was in their swing. My youngest has always taken her at home naps in her crib though. She's a blackout baby. She would reach the "I'm crabby and need a nap stage." She'd get plopped into her crib, whether she thought it was nap time or not, and I put a heavy blanket over her window. She was usually out within 10minutes. Usually.
I think, if I had twins, I would try like crazy to get them on the same sleep schedule. But that's me. Without having had twins.

Jamie said...

I totally understand. :) *hugs*

I am just now -- with the girls turning 10 months old -- feeling totally able and capable of taking care of them totally on my own. Mike was out of town for work a few nights this week and I was on my own with everyone and we did fine. It does get better, promise. However, if and when I have any extra arms available (rarely) I take full advantage of them.

The magic age with my girls for sleep was 8 months. I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Twins" and implemented the advice. They now sleep 12 hours at night and take 2 naps per day. It is SOO much better than it was. We also have a pretty firm schedule during the day, which I think helps them to know what is happening and what to expect. I think you will have to do at least a bit of modified cry-it-out in order to get them to sleep. It took about a week with some fussing at each nap for the kinks to work out.

It does get better. And when it's a rough day, have an espresso in the morning and a margarita at night. :)

duck said...

Sleep! Well we didn't do the cosleeping thing so the twins have been in their crib together since they came home and they now sleep for 5-6 hours in the night. We just started from the beginning so it's pretty much all we know.

Taya Millward said...

Okay, so you don't know me, I am a blog stalker. I found your blog through Holly's. I sometimes just go through the blogs other people know to just see how other people live, what advice I can get on decorating, parenting, life, etc... So anyway, I don't have twins but I am a mom of four. Two of my babies have been great sleepers and the other two not so much. I also read the book " Healthy sleep habits happy child." Don't get me wrong it was a good book and had some good advice, but..... it took me a year to get my now sixteen month to sleep through the night. I know the book says not to let your baby sleep in a swing, car, blah, blah. But, It was the only way my babe would sleep. I even let her cry for an hour at times. Just do what you feel is best for your fam.

Kymberli said...

I wish I had some advice for the sleep thing. We also co-slept with our twins and couldn't get them to sleep in their cribs (not even for naps) for the life of us. It wasn't until I was pg with Jordan and the twins were about 16 months old that we got them to sleep in their toddler beds. We had to do the whole CIO thing. They were already sleeping through the night in our bed, so we knew their crying was not a matter of hunger, etc. The first night was rough, the second night was better, and by the third, they were sleeping on their own in their bed without tears. As for getting them to sleep on their own while still in the baby-baby phase after they've grown used to co-sleeping - I have no clue.

With the other two, we got them started out in the cribs right from the start. We always felt better having their crib in our room until around a year or so and they still co-slept occasionally, but they were mostly placed in their cribs and we never had a problem with either of them.

Your boys are A-DOR-A-BLE! Just precious!

Denise said...

Ours used to nap together in the pack 'n play (in the family room with whatever commotion was going on). They also slept in swings and that seemed to be the only consistent time they would sleep at the same time for longer than 30 minutes. And for some reason, the little clicking sounds the swings made actually helped me fall asleep faster so that I was able to sleep while they were both sleeping.

Don't get me wrong though, they were never consistent with their napping. Even when they started day care at 5 months old, they still napped inconsistently. And they woke up at least once in the middle of the night until they were 10 months old. It was like a switch went off and one night around 10 months old, they both started sleeping 11 or 12 hours straight over night.

They didn't get the nap thing down until about 13 months. This is when they moved up a room at day care and the very first day in the new room, they both took a 2 hour nap with the other kids from noon to 2pm. And they don't even put them in cribs, they just have little cots they sleep on with a blanket. I think it must have been peer pressure, because they have consistently taken a 2 hour nap every day since then, even on weekends (although sometimes shorter, sometimes longer). It has allowed me to nap during the day on weekends, which I find I really need after chasing them around all day while pregnant.

It will get better if you try to stick to a schedule, whatever that schedule may be. I think the key is consistency, but it might take some time. Wishing you luck. I don't know how you are staying sane home with 3 under 3, but I'm so glad (for your sake) that you have some help.

Jingle said...

cute smiles!

Allison said...

Oooo, did you know there was a "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Twins" book? I didn't!!! I'll buy it for you. Oh who am I already got it on Amazon, didn't you? :)

k said...


And. I'm sorry your'e so stressed out. We're here when you need to vent!


WiseGuy said...

Happy 300th!!

Jeez, I have no advice on how to get Nix and Gax to sleep better.

You are a good mom. And you are so lucky to have people around you who care for the kids and you!

Take Care!

E said...

Sorry, I have no advice for you because mine just sleeps on his own at night. He put himself on his own schedule. I just have to figure out what is giving him bellyaches.

It is hard enough with one. I couldn't imagine twins and a toddler.

Whatever you are doing, you are doing great!!

Of course I am a twin and my mother tells me a lot of stories about us and as far as I know she and my father took "shifts" so that they could get some sleep at night. Hmm, I will have to ask her...

Anonymous said...

Happy 300th! Which, by the way, is the new 200th. Or in your case 400th... Mel explains it better. ;-)

Your boys are fantastic, really. The smiles tell how happy and loved they are. And you are in no way a sub-par mum (what a silly, silly thing to say!), you are a human mum.

And let me just tell you how much I envy you for having such wonderful parents. Think of the Pacific Ocean and multiply it by ten and you might have a vague idea.

Sorry for no advice on napping. But I hope my envying you might cheer you up though. Really, if one day you wake up and have no cute, hip mum around, just know I've mumnapped her and she is safe.

Jenny Guttormson said...

I've been reading your blog for a while (found it through Lisa W's Growing by 2 feet blog). I think you are doing a wonderful job - I feel like a bad mom all the time with my one child of 4 months. As far as sleeping, my boy loves a swaddle (the cheater velcro kind by Summer) and his swing. Both of these help him stay asleep for a long time. We swaddle him every night when we put him in his crib. Although he works his hands out of it by morning, it keeps him calm and snuggly. I know I don't have tons of advice or experience for you, but thought I'd offer my 2 cents. Good luck! You're doing great!

Meg said...

I haven't commented before but have been reading your blog - I have fraternal twin boys also, who are just over 4 months old.

Unfortunately, I live on an island in the middle of nowhere, therefore have no family support to assist me with the boys. All of my friends either have babies of their own, or work, so it can be tough at times.

I found weeks 12 - 15 were teh WORST. I seriously doubted my sanity and abilities of mothering during that time. Sleep was crap, moods were crap, crying crying crying was crap. BUT - they are much better now.

Their sleep is fairly routine - wake between 6 and 7, sleep for 2 hours starting between 9 and 10 a.m... and then generally another 2 hour nap from about 2p.m. We bath them and put them to bed at about 8, and they *usually, fingers crossed* go straight through to 6, although sometimes wake at 4 a.m. for a top-up. I'm not bragging, but my god its a good thing they do this, otherwise I would be insane, here on my own!

We are currently slaves to the swaddle, so that helps them take longer naps. Another thing I found tough, was that when we had visitors, they would cuddle them to sleep in their arms , so they got used to that. It took a week or so after visitors left to get them comfortable with sleeping longer on their own.

I hope this helps!


Anonymous said...

So cute! I wish I could help with the sleeping dilemma; the only thing I can tell you is they will sleep, eventually. Then the teenage years start:-)

300th Blog post. Congratulations!


Chad and Gena said...

Hey there, first thing is first...Keep Your Head Up and don't be so hard on yourself. I don't have time to read everyone else's responses so I may be repeating something that someone else already said but did want to share me experience with you as well.

To be honest, I don't remember a lot of detail regarding timing...which means this will all be a distant memory for you one day and probably much sooner than you realize. Your boys are almost 1 year to the day younger than my twins and last summer was a haze...I barley remember it. You are truly in the hardest time right now. When they stop sleeping all day and before day sleep really regulates.

I love HSHHC, and that book was my only saving grace in just realizing what stages we were in.

I agree breast feeding and baby wearing doesn't really go together when you have twins because as soon as you get one to sleep the other will need to be fed and then you are waking one just to feed the other.

I had one really good napper and one serial cat napper so I feel for you in the fact that w/them on opposite schedule you never get a second to yourself.

Until Evan's naps really regulated (he was my cat napper) I slept him in his crib and Taryn napped in the pack in play in our room. I kept them separate for naps until Evan was napping consistently. His day sleep kicked in right at 5 months. And as soon as it did life got much easier.

Right at that time...I set a schedule based off what they were already doing and I stuck to it. Which means if they woke early I left them in their cribs until it was time to get up. This was more of a factor for Evan but he finally got the point and stopped waking early and would nap for a solid 1.5 hours 2-3 x a day. If I remember right they would take 2 -1.5 hour naps and 1- 45 min nap in the early evening.

I know some people will have issues w/leaving they babies in their cribs even after they wake but for me it was about staying sane. And it wasn't for an excessive amount of time and I really think it did help us establish a great schedule and good sleep habits. I think some of the flexibility that you can allow yourself w/ a singleton go out the window when you have twins involved. I think getting them on a schedule and keeping them on it is priceless and you will be a happier mommy for it. But I do think it will be closer to 5 months when are really able to set a schedule and keep them on it.

And everything you are feeling is so normal. I spent so much time berating myself and questioning my abilities as a mom but trust me what you are doing isn't easy and anyone would struggle with it. There were days that my dh would come home from work and I would just look at him and say your turn and then go hide under the covers...what I really wanted to do was run away.

Just know you are doing a great job and you are almost through the hardest part. It will get so much better and you will forget all about this time...I promise :-)

Coffeegrljp said...

I adore my two children, but there are days and moments that I want to cry. Reading your post made me want to cry. Why? Because *I* feel subpar with a 2 1/2 year old and a one month old. It's a handful and I'm almost embarrassed to think of all the moms who have come before me (i.e. my mom) who have managed to parent two children all on their own. It's not easy and I've got some help from my hubby (thanks to his flexible work schedule). Oy.

lisawitt said...

oh C! you are totally NOT a subpar mom!! You are doing a great job! And life with a toddler and babies is just tough...but before you know it, Nix and GAx will be crawling around, eating baby food, sleeping through the night....and this tough phase will be a distant memory! So hang in there, this too shall pass!

As for the sleeping thing...Zach was the King of napping in the swing. Only thing that consistently worked for him. Mark always napped well, he just took forever to sleep through the night! We did CIO when we finally moved him out of our room and into the crib and he was sleeping great within a week.

So hang in there, have a glass of wine and pat yourself on the back because you are doing a great job, momma! And btw, the pic of the twins...ADORABLE!! :)

~ Kristen said...

I wish I had advice for the sleeping in the cribs for you, but I am sure others do!! :)

I wanted to comment on your not having kids anymore part and let you know its going to be a little mourning process....especially for people like us who have TTC for so long, so many years of our lives and with our DH's have been TTC and everything that goes into it, its does add to the mourning a little I think.

But your so right, it helps focusing on the times ahead. Knowing I am done and now we are looking ahead to PTA, soccer and all those young child things as apposed to toddler things its such a fun different part to having my kids (boys lol) and while I mourn the not having anymore babies, i am so excited about the future and the new things we get to experience as a family!

Ludicrous Mama said...

I like the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer books, and she has a nice formula/ritual/schedule for sleeping.

Whenever you start feeling like a failure, or like a burden on your parents, remember: It's only this (past) century that we haven't raised our kids in a community! Most other cultures have parents living with their kids to help with the household as the standard. Families lived nearby, so all the aunts and uncles were around to pitch in too. Tight knit communities, where someone would take care of your older child for the day when you had babies. Neighborhoods where someone fed you every day when needed (luckily, you guys had a horde of mommies willing to help!) Hands-on help from your church was the norm. Church ladies invading your house to clean for you, do laundry, cook, etc.

Because of the level of technology and ease of travel, we as a society are isolating ourselves, moving further away from family support and cutting ourselves off emotionally and socially from our closest neighbors. I only know the next door neighbors on one side. And they lived there for 4 years before I bothered to learn their names, and only then because my daughter is old enough and wanted to play with their daughter! (Although, in my defense, they moved in all happy and pregnant when I was first realizing we were going to have fertility problems. It took 2 years of trying and expensive medical procedures to finally succeed in having a reason to get to know them! I hate people who can just whip up a baby like a batch of muffins or a cake mix or something!)

IF Optimist, then... said...

Reading this postm I can only nod in agreement. The girls are giid sleepers and nappers, we still have many feeding issues due to prematurity but each day seems to get better and better. I have had no laptop now for about 6 weeks and am going insane. I stopped by via my phone. :-) Am currently pumping milk at 4 am. Life with twins is more hectic than I can describe, but their smiles are sooooooo worth every insane moment. I think of you every day and keep good thoughts for your family in my heart. -- T