Archive for August, 2015

  • Four Months

    Date: 2015.08.27 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Luke, Me, Twins, Vera | Response: 1

    Ok, so it’s been a while since the twins turned four months, but I did snap their pictures on that day!

    I love four-month-olds. They are so engaging. They laugh and smile and watch everything around them, especially their goofy, dancing sisters. Plus, they aren’t quite mobile yet, which makes things easier on mom and dad!

    Luke, however, desperately wants to be mobile. He’s got the rolling from tummy to back thing down, and can even inchworm across the floor and bed. When we put him in his bumbo chair, he works as hard as he can to get out of it. When we hold him, he loves to stand while clutching our fingers. I do believe the boy would run off if he could.

    Vera, on the other hand, is much more reserved in her movements. Opposite of her brother, she loathes tummy time and any time we make her do it, it is met with much screaming and protest. I have been worried about her not meeting her milestones like brother, but she is managing to push through. The day after her four-month doctor appointment, where we discussed developmental concerns, she totally surprised me by finally rolling over! Yes, she’s only done it once, but now I know that little stinker can do it.

    V also has some head and neck problems, but we have been able to do stretches at home so far, and they seem to be working. Of course, as her mama I can’t help but worry about her, but so far she’s showing me that she can do it!

    Also opposite of brother, V loves her bumbo chair and will sit in it quite contently and observe the world around her. She doesn’t mind staying still, which is probably a good thing with all the chaos in our house.

    Sleep has been interesting. For two nights in a row, right as they turned four months old, they slept through the night. But, it was fleeting. Since then, Luke has been waking up at least twice a night, rolling over. I know there is a four month sleep regression, but V and I do not appreciate the nightly wake ups. We are powering through though. In a way, it’s good, because V still needs the extra nightly calories, so Luke forces me to get up and dream feed her.

    At four months they weighed in at 14 pounds and 10 pounds, nearly doubling their birth weights.

    After doing some research, we have opted to wait and start solids at six months. Neither baby is showing any interest in our food yet and with V being so tiny, it feels like the right decision.

    Tandem nursing is nearly impossible for us now. They are so crunched in the football hold that they get fussy when I try to do it. Instead their feedings are now slightly staggered, which is good so mama can have some one on one time with them while they nurse and they can stretch out.

    They are much more content to sit and watch now, not always demanding to be held. Again, I think the constant amount of entertainment from their older sisters  contributes to that, but I’m not complaining.

    I can not believe my babies are four months already. It simultaneously feels like the days are so long sometimes, but the weeks and months are so short.

    Right now Luke looks just like mama and V looks just like my husband’s family. I think that is also a contributing factor to their size difference. My V is just petite!

    Sarah has affectionately nicknamed them “Little Buddy” and “Little Vivi,” and the names are sticking.

    I can honestly say that at four months in, things are better. We are finally finding our groove and getting use to our new normal. I love their smiles (Luke smiles with his whole face, while V gives me shy grins) and I love getting glimpses of their personalities.

    Happy (belated) Four Months to my littles!

  • Doubt

    Date: 2015.08.19 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Life, Luke, Mark, Me, Norah, Sarah, Twins, Vera | Response: 1

    No one ever said being a parent was easy, and I know that. It requires strength, sacrifice, patience and a force of will I never knew I had. And as we’ve added more children to our family, I’ve found that all of those characteristics need to be amplified: patience, discipline and even a listening ear for four children, instead of just one, is much harder.

    I feel like so many days we are just surviving and it is so hard to actively do things for my kids. We react to what’s presented instead of proactively planning things and doing them. Most of the time, I’ve learned to relax and go with it, but then here lately, I feel like that’s not enough.

    I doubt myself all the time. At the twins’ four month check up, we went through the list of milestones they should be performing. When the nurse asked if they reach for toys placed in front of them, I paused and with great embarrassment said, “I don’t know, because we don’t really do that.” I felt guilty and immediately felt compelled to start explaining myself. “It’s not that we leave them unattended all day, but they are usually sitting in chairs and kicking at things attached to them, or laying on blankets while Sarah dances in front of them or being held and nursed.”

    I don’t consciously think, like I did with my first two, “Oh, I need to be presenting them with things so they can practice reaching and grabbing.” Most of the time, when I’m home, I’m trying to do dishes, pick up, fold laundry and attend to my two very active older girls who demand my attention, and so the babies just kind of hang out for the ride.

    Vera was also not rolling over yet and is having some head and neck problems that I didn’t even realize were going on. Yes, we take them to the doctor regularly, so she caught it, but I did not even realize it was going on. I felt like I was failing her. (On a positive side note, she did roll over the very next day after the appointment, despite her loud and screaming protests to tummy time).

    My doubts creep in with Sarah and Norah too. Norah watches Mark and I intently, and as soon as our attention deviates away from her, she makes a break for any and all forms of mischief: throwing things in toilets, grabbing and throwing cat litter, grabbing bags of food and emptying their contents onto the floor.  All these things make me feel like I only say negative words to her. “Norah!!! Why?!” I find myself saying all the time. And I know why. She’s an attention-starved almost-two-year-old who wants her mama’s attention.

    She has also put up the great and mighty protest against easily going to sleep in her new big girl bed. We can’t let Sarah in the room that they share while we let her go to sleep or Norah will scale our well-placed barricades for the bunk bed stairs and jump on her sister repeatedly, playing a game instead of sleeping. As such, Sarah is kept out of the room until her sister falls asleep, often keeping her up well past when she should be sleeping and making her exhausted for the school the following day. Another failure for Sarah.

    Between the four kids tag-teaming me throughout the course of the night, I have had exactly two decent night’s sleep in the past six months or so, and it’s taking it’s toll on my patience with my children and my husband. Instead of answering their questions with love, I feel like I bark out quick responses. I feel like I’m failing my family all the time and that they must only see me as a mean, grumpy monster.

    But then things will sneak through to make me realize that they don’t feel that way, at least not all the time. This morning, after being up most of the night with Luke, Sarah and Norah, my tiniest little Vera woke up well-rested and all smiles and coos and giggles. While the rest of the house finally slept, we had about 20 minutes together, just the two of us to laugh and smile and just be.

    Before I left for work, Norah yelled, “Mama! Mama!” “Yes, Bean,” I said exhaustedly. She looked at me and said, “Hug you,” and wrapped her little arms tightly around my neck.

    In the midst of the morning breakfast and getting ready chaos, Mark and I shared a look of exhaustion and I walked over to him and we wrapped our arms around each other in comfort and shared understanding.

    On the way to school this morning Sarah chirped up, “Mama, I have something to tell you.” “Yes?” I inquired. “You’re so beautiful and I love you,” she said, before telling me all about her nightmare that woke up half the house at 4:30 this morning (it involved  unicorns, a prince and a pink potion that turned everyone into frogs).

    To be honest, I still don’t feel like I’m doing it all right. I forget things all the time and fly by the seat of my pants. But it is so nice in the midst of being so full of doubt that my family shows me and tells me how much they love me. I may not be doing it right all the time, but we do manage to laugh and smile and love one another, so we must be doing something right.

  • In Transition

    Date: 2015.08.02 | Category: Family, Home, Norah, Toddler Time | Response: 1

    Someone talk me down from the ledge.

    We have begun the process of getting Norah to sleep in her big girl bed instead of the crib… and sharing a room with her big sister. Go big or go home, right?

    The past two nights have been rough. I sort of want to kick myself for starting this process now with the two babies we’re still wrestling to sleep at night, but Norah can now hurl herself out of her crib, and as prone to accidents and ER visits as she is, it’s time we minimize the risk. And so, our plan to start her big girl transition has been moved up a month.

    I have to keep telling myself this is a good thing. It gives Sarah a full week of adjusting with Norah in her room before school starts, and we will hopefully eliminate the late nights soon. Plus, the sooner we get her adjusted to sleeping in her new bed, the sooner we can move the twins into her old room and out of sleeping in our living room (hey, you do what you’ve got to do).

    I tried to prepare myself for this. I’m part of a really good and supportive sleep learning group on Facebook. Granted I joined to get help with the twins, but when I asked for help with this transition into the big girl bed, they stepped up wonderfully with some great tips and ideas.

    The first night Norah thought it was a game. We put her into the bed, she jumped right back out again. Over and over and over. Sarah tried to boss her from the top bunk and then was constantly running to tell us Norah was out of bed again. We finally took Sarah out of the room and let her watch tv while we put up a pressure gate to keep Norah in the room and blocked off the bunk bed stairs to prevent her from toddler base jumping.

    There was a lot of protesting. We tried laying down with her. She was fine until we got up. We tried standing and watching, but then it became a game to jump up as soon as we left. I wanted to give up and put her in her crib, but Mark kept me strong. I grabbed a beer to help me power through. Finally, she wore down at 9:30pm and Mark put her in the bed and she didn’t get back out. She did pretty well and slept through the night, but woke up at 5:30am crying. This is my baby who usually sleeps until 8:30 or 9.

    The next day was HARD. She was exhausted and refused to nap. I thought she should nap in her crib. One transition at a time, right? This was not a good idea. She spent most of the day screaming her head off – both in bed and pretty much any time we looked at her. She was a grouch and kept screaming for her “kilkies,” ie her blankies, all. day. long. And of course we were all exhausted. Norah kept Sarah up quite a bit during the night and early morning, and I was up with the babies at night, and then again at 5:30 with her.

    Second night was even tougher. It was Mark’s turn to want to give up. We were all so exhausted and she was overtired. We went through a two hour repeat of her constantly getting out of bed. I finally caved and went to sit in bed with her. She stayed put, but spent the entire time singing to her Raggedy Ann doll and playing peek-a-boo with her. That would have been adorable if I wasn’t so exhausted and still had crying babies to attend to.

    Sarah loudly declared that she thought it was high time Norah moved back to her crib because she was keeping her awake. I was so close, so close, to granting her wish. But I knew things would just end with hours of screaming. We had started this awful process, and we needed to stick to it. The first three days are always the worst with any kind of sleep training. We were half way through it, we couldn’t stop now.

    Finally, we had to leave her in the room screaming. Poor Sarah. Poor Norah. Poor us. I felt awful for her, but I know her personality and how well she manipulates us, so I had to. Guess what? Less than 2 minutes of protesting and then she crawled back into bed and passed out. She slept until 6:30 this time, a huge improvement I think.

    Today, we decided we needed to commit to the big girl bed for nap time too. It was too confusing going back and forth.

    My new plan of attack included wearing her out and filling her up. I let her play outside all morning, made her favorite for lunch (shells and cheese), and then Mark put her in her bed, put the gate up, turned off the lights and walked away.

    I steeled myself for the screaming that would probably fill our whole afternoon… and it never came. I checked on her five minutes later and she had passed out!

    I don’t know if this will translate into success tonight, but I hope it at least shaves an hour off our protest time. If we can get her sleeping easily in the big girl bed, it will at least grant me the patience to forgive her new habit of putting all the things in the toilet. Maybe.