Monthly Archives

August 2010

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Clarification of the Diaper Bag and More Useful Packing Items

First, to answer Jen. My diaper bag is indeed huge.

As most readers of this blog know, we bought just about everything for the twins used/second hand. To this day, I can count the number of clothing items we have bought ourselves as we get so many hand-me-downs from friends/cousins. I think it’s great! More money to spend on other things.

However, the diaper bag was one of the items that I splurged on. I love it, love it, love it and it’s perfect for traveling.
The brand is called Ju Ju Be and my bag is the Be Prepared.
The name fits me well as I pride myself on being organized and prepared!

Also, my list was a bit misleading as I didn’t quite fit all of that into the diaper bag and had to shove some items in the suitcase (for instance, the 40 pack of diapers). But yeah, I can get ALOT (most of it) in that bag.
I also always carry a supply of large and small ziploc bags when traveling. I can’t even count the number of times those have come in handy.

My last item I forgot to include was a travel pack of duct tape. I know, it’s so lesbionic, but trust me–it has a million uses. It’s always in my bathroom bag, but I think I’m going to switch it to my diaper bag now so it’s always with me.
For instance, when we got to the condo we discovered how bright the bedroom was even with the blinds closed. What to do? Baby needs to nap…
I grabbed a dark sarong that I had packed specifically anticipating this problem, climbed up on a chair and duct taped the fabric over the window. Viola! Darkened room perfect for napping!
I never travel without a sarong. It’s a blanket for a picnic, a towel at the beach, a dress, a skirt, a cover when you’re cold and so many other things. I could probably sling a baby in one if I tried.

We DO always carry a back up set of clothes for the twins–just 2 extra onsies–and also these bags for anything dirty. They are great!
We’ve been very fortunate in diaper blow outs in that I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve needed back up clothing items for the twins.
As for extra clothing for ourselves, we have been super lucky and have never the joyful experience of being pooped or peed on. Not once! So, we’ve never packed that in the bag, but now that I’ve typed this, surely one of us will get shat on promptly.

Questions?


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Tips for Traveling with Twins/a Baby; Packing Tips for Twins/a Baby, Packing List

I meant to post the packing list for the trips we took to Florida at 3 months (flying) and Argentina at 4 months (flying), but I never got around to it.

This list is more or less a variation on those lists. Of course the needs change as the babies get older (for instance, we have to worry about solid food items now) and the list changes depending on the season.

BUT, no matter where you are, clothing items can be hand washed and air dried overnight and dishes can be washed in a condo sink or hotel sink.
If you pack for a week, you can pack for a month. It’s the same amount of stuff!

We have rented condos in Florida, Argentina and North Carolina and find this arrangement works best for babies. Hotels are tough as you are all in one room and what do you do when the baby goes to bed at 6pm?? You either sit quietly in the dark or sit on the balcony and get eaten alive by mossies! This way you have a real living arrangement and a real kitchen.
We have never bothered with a 2 bedroom as we have found one bedrooms still fit 2 cribs or pack n plays. However, we are already used to the twins sleeping in the same room with us.

We are also big believers in renting cribs or pack n plays for the condo OR making sure the hotel/guest houses we stay in have these available for our use.
You can use a site like BabiesAway for rentals all across the USA.
Also, if you are traveling within the USA, consider shipping items like diapers, wipes and even baby food to your location from a site such as Amazon or Diapers.com.
This will save you a lot of packing space!

When we fly we keep it to (2) overhead size suitcases, one (big) diaper bag and one backpack PLUS the car seats, snap n go stroller bases (we have 2 singles which we find much easier than the double which we hated) and 2 baby carriers (Ergos, etc).

Obviously since we were driving we had the luxury of packing a few more items, but overall, I find less is more.
I like to be able to make one trip: Wearing the baby/Strolling the baby with a diaper bag on my shoulder (or backpack on my back) and pulling the suitcase. We did this for all air travel and it worked great.
Now that the twins are outgrowing their snap and go car seats, it’s going to be a wee bit more complicated for awhile, but we will figure that out as we go and I’ll let you know how we do it!

For now, the list. I hope this helps someone on their travels! It’s more work with twins for sure, but it can be done and it can be FUN!

In Diaper Bag
Breast Feeding supplies:
2 collection bottles, 2 caps, 2 phalanges
lanisoh ointment
tube bra for pumping
breast pump and cord
4 Dr. Brown’s bottles
1 can formula
Bottle brush
dishwashing detergent

baby zantac
medical syringe
2 baby medicators
children’s tylenol
saline drops
thermometer
clippers
nail file

pack of (40) 7th Generation diapers
packet of wipes
California baby wash and lotion
laundry detergent

8 packages Plum organics squeezable baby food
4 baby spoons
immersion handheld blender
8 empty storage containers to make baby food
6 cloth bibs plus a handful of disposable bibs for the car
***we did not bring any baby bowls to feed them out of as we figured we could use the ones in the condo***

In twins overhead size suitcase:
6 burp clothes
2 blankets (probably won’t use/need)
2 crib sheets (probably won’t use/need as the cribs we rented come with sheets, but just in case of a night time leak)
2 hooded towels
4 baby washcloths

6 footed pj’s
2 pairs pants (probably won’t need)
8 short sleeved onsies

2 sun hats
2 swim diapers (eco friendly and reusable from One Step Ahead)
2 baby robes to wear after getting out of the water
2 pairs baby sandals (ridiculous gift, probably won’t use!)

Misc Items:
sun tent (from One Step Ahead)
foldable blanket mat (from Pottery Barn Kids)
2 Ergo baby carriers
jumperoo (could’ve left this at home as there is NO where to secure it to a door frame here. lesson learned!)
car seats and padded body/head inserts
clip on toys to go on car seats
beach sarongs to cover car seats to keep out bright lights at night and sun during day (this was my best idea yet getting multiple use out of a sarong!)

Back Pack with:
toys
books
ABC taggie blanket for floor
One small overhead size suitcase with: (if Chicken and I can’t fit all our stuff into ONE overhead suitcase, we’ve overpacked. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go.)
our clothes, shoes, swim suits, etc.
bathroom bag
sun hats
suncream

In my (large) handbag:
wallet
makeup bag
sunglasses
snacks for the car
iPhone
iPod and charger
Crackberry
car adapter chargers
camera, batteries, charger and cords
travel pillow and neck pillow for car
ear plugs and eye mask for car

Laptop Bag:
2 laptops and related power cords

We shipped to the condo from Amazon (or Diapers.com)
One box of diapers
One box of wipes
3 new toys for the car ride back home
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A Compromise, of Sorts

The night of my last post I decided to go see the ladies, Jeni and Ling, of the magic hands. I am a big believer in massage therapy and I usually go see them when I’m feeling poorly. Sure enough, Jeni cleared up my sinuses as well as giving me some amazing pressure points massage in my arms because she said I had so much stress.


That night I slept well, but I woke up the next day feeling even worse as the toxins were working out of my body. Thank god for HN, because I slept all day, waking only every 4 hours to feed the boys, pump and try to eat something myself before going back to bed.
It was a tense day full of F-Bombs, as in “I’m not fucking going.” Because really, when you feel that bad, you cannot even fathom the idea of going, no matter what. There was more….it was a bad, bad day.
I kept loading up on liquids, started taking a massive amount of probiotics (for the Thrush) plus a Vitamin B12+Folic Acid (B for the Thrush and also my blood levels came back as deficient in B12 and Folic Acid). Every feeding I dunked my booby in a hot water bath spiked with vinegar and made sure the nips air dried as much as possible.
I woke up on Friday feeling much better. Whew. Bullet dodged.

I proposed the plan of us leaving Saturday night instead of Friday night and Chicken was fine with that. It worked in our favor for a number of reasons:
  • It gave me an extra day to recover
  • I didn’t get to do the packing I was supposed to do Wednesday and Thursday as I was sick (and I am the packer of the family. Chicken tries, but the last time she packed her stuff, she arrived in Italy with all tops and no bottoms. Not a good look. I took over from there so we didn’t have to buy half a new wardrobe every time we traveled. She has been known to once get on a plane asking, “Where are we going and what did I bring?”)
  • I didn’t get to run the last minute errands
  • And most importantly, we could leave a little bit earlier.
This last point was the most crucial because check in for the condo was between 3:30-5 on Saturday. We wanted to leave earlier all along, but it didn’t make sense because if we got here and had no where to go after 12-14 hours in a car…well, that would suck mightily.
If we arrived on Sunday, it wouldn’t matter what time we arrived and other people would already be here to help us unload the car and give us a hand with the boys–Oh, and FEED us!!

So, we packed it up on Friday and did some last minute things. On Saturday, Chicken took the morning shift and I napped while I did her the favor in the afternoon.
The plan was to eat dinner as soon as the boys went to bed at 6pm and go to sleep ourselves shortly thereafter.
Chicken went to sleep at 7:30pm and I pumped and then….tossed and turned. I couldn’t fall asleep no matter what I did.
The longer I thrashed about the more stressed out I got about the road trip and how I couldn’t do it without sleeping.
Finally at 11pm, I said screw it. Got up, pumped again, got something to eat, went to get the car that Chicken’s brother had parked a few blocks away and brought everything downstairs. Left the hazards on and went back up, woke up Chicken and the babies, gave them bottles and put them in their car seats.

Normally at this night feeding they are so sleepy, but as we took them down in the elevator they were wide eyed and alert. They were so cute as they quietly took in everything around them as if asking “what are we doing now Mommy?” No crying at all and zoom, we were off.

The car is a Toyota Matrix and it is so tiny we don’t even have strollers for the week. We have 2 suitcases, one backpack, one diaper bag, 2 car seats, 2 Ergos, a laptop bag and my handbag. And we are packed to the max! ***This is also the reason we could not bring HN, as many of you suggested we do, but the main reason is that it would’ve cost us a cool grand for her fee as there are 7 overnights involved. NOT happening!***

For some reason, even without sleep or caffeine I drove through the night from 12:30pm to 4am. At that point we’d made awesome time, pulled over in Maryland to get gas and BF the boys, and then I continued on to Virginia.
At 5:30am the state trooper clocked me at 84 in a 65, I couldn’t find the registration for the car that isn’t even MINE and I looked a mess having not slept a wink now and driving all night now.
Did you know it’s a misdemeanor in VA to go over 80 and is punishable by a jail time up to 2 years and a $2,500 fine?? Holy Shit.
He let me go without a ticket and only a warning. Can you say L-U-C-K-Y??

I slowed down from there, Chicken took over at 6:30, the boys slept til 7:45 and we made another hour long stop to feed them, ourselves and stretch a bit.
All was going well until we got turned around in NC and went almost an hour out of our way.
The boys broke down at the very end. It was horrible. More F-bombs and diaper blowouts and I’ve now slept 40 minutes in the last twenty-four hours.
Why anyone wants to drive all this way when there are perfectly fine beaches along the way….? Family tradition, it is what it is.

So, long story…we are here. I sucked it up. The trip was bad, but not as bad as I thought it might be. I really don’t want to do it again, but we have to get home somehow!
Grunter and W2 are doing really well, with naps, with the rented cribs, the changes in their schedule–everything. I am SO relieved! And everyone is so happy to meet them and play with them. It IS much better than I anticipated and I’m glad we came in spite of it all.

Chicken told me that she owes me a big, nice vacation because (a) the hellish trip to Florida to see all of her family when the twins were 3 months old that I didn’t think we should go on.
(b) the fact I had to sit in the back seat of the car for 3 days while were we drove through the mountains in Argentina because it made her carsick and (c) this 12.5 hour car trip.

I have already picked out the location and it makes me very happy just thinking about it.
I’ll give you a hint. It’s very far away, involves scuba diving, we’ve never been there and Islam is the main religion.

Now I’ll leave you with some photos of the boys in the swimming pool for the first time–they loved it!




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Vacation, All I Never Wanted

Last Thanksgiving some of Chicken’s relatives thought it would be a great idea if we ALL did a family beach vacation in NC. This location is nothing new to the fam. They go there every year, rent a big house and basically sun themselves into wallets while downing copious amounts of alcohol.


I went the first year we were together (10 years ago) and we have never returned. It’s far, it’s not cheap and it’s just not my thing.
However, since we (the ‘cousins’) were all due to have babies this year, the parental units thought it would be a great opportunity for us to all spend time together. We would all get separate condos and have our own ‘space’ and get together at each other’s places for drinks and dinner, etc.

At the time….it sounded like it might be a good idea.
At the time….I didn’t actually HAVE seven month old twins. I didn’t KNOW what it would be like to ride in a car with them for UP to 14 hours. I couldn’t IMAGINE that I would have those kids that need things ‘just so’ in order to be happy and content.

I THOUGHT, “How hard could it be? They’ll be 7 months old. They’ll be sleeping through the night. They’ll sleep in the car on the way down there. We can put them in the stroller and go out to dinner. They can sleep on the beach while we relax. When they wake up they can play in the sand and we’ll take them in the pool/beach.”

Fast forward to 7 months old and….they don’t sleep through the night. They won’t sleep for the entire time in the car. Their sleep will be terribly disrupted and we’ll probably have to do sleep training again. They won’t sleep in the stroller in the evening and I don’t WANT to undo all the hard work we’ve done over the summer to ‘see’ if we can just ‘put them down’ somewhere else. They don’t sit up on their own yet, so that makes everything more difficult. We can never go out to dinner because they need to go to sleep by 6pm. We can’t even go over to someone else’s condo together because one of us has to stay home with the babies.
And we’ll have very little in terms of help because everyone else has kids!

The grandparents will be there but they have 6 grandkids (4 of them under the age of 7 months)/3 couples arriving. So, we also won’t have the 1-1 attention like we did in Argentina. Not to mention that we don’t even all have condos side by side. They are spread out all over the place across this huge complex so we can’t just run next door if we need something.

I have been stressing about this vacation ALL SUMMER LONG. It does not sound fun, it does not sound relaxing and it sounds like SO much work.

To make things worse, I have come down with a summer cold in the last 2 days and it just keeps getting worse. Today, I’m running a low grade fever and the boys are congested and FUSSY as hell. In fact, W2 has been crying the entire nap time. He has completely regressed this week and I am so scared of taking them out of their environment like this.

One of Chicken’s cousins (who is newly pregnant and not going on this trip) has expressed a lot of concern over how hard this is going to be for us and how Chicken’s mother is not going to be very understanding of our strict ‘baby policy’. This is what I have feared for months.
Because Chicken’s brother has one of those babies that is SOO easy. And Chicken’s mother is around this baby all the time and we hear the comparisons. I know she’s going to insist that we just disrupt the boys schedule and ‘see what happens’.
I am so fearful of this that I’ve even done role-playing with Chicken so that she can practice standing up to her mother. I would do it myself…but we all know the rules with MIL’s.

This is the same woman who refused to wash her hands before holding my babies and when I insisted, she later gossiped to other family members about how insulted she felt. This is the same woman who lets my babies watch TV even though I have asked her to please turn it off while they are in the room because they get over-stimulated and crazy. She wants things done her way and she needs to be in control.
She hasn’t quite figured out that WE are the mommy’s now. She had her turn and it’s our game now.

I feel like there’s no way out. She has paid for the condo as our joint birthday present and I’m very grateful for that. She is even loaning us one of her cars to drive down so we don’t have to spend a fortune on renting a car from Manhattan.
If we cancel because I am sick, I will never hear the end of it.

But nothing takes away the fact that on Friday night at 2am, we are supposed to pack the boys up and drive up to 14 hours straight with me and them possibly feeling like complete shit.
I don’t want to go.

Oh, and I have thrush. I was up all night last night as the boys cried for 2 hours straight and tiny little knives were being thrust through my right breast.
I finally took a pack of frozen berries out of the freezer and iced my tit til the knives stopped. Then the babies finally stopped crying and I fell asleep as well.
Right about that time, the cat started howling and woke me up through my ear plugs.
Fucking Cat.

Don’t grab frozen mixed berries as an ice pack because they will melt and you will wake up and think that your breasts are bleeding and it will freak your shit out. Grab the peas instead.

I am a mess today. An absolute nightmarish mess and I really, really don’t want to go.
I don’t know if I’m asking for advice or just venting but feel free to comment.
I’m trying to find the positive, but I’m not finding it. If you see it, please point it out so I can adjust to a different point of view.
Right now, my viewpoint sucks.
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Good Thing I’m Not Really Going Crazy

After my break down post a month or so ago, I started taking some much needed steps to take care of “me”.

This would not have been possible without the sleep/nap training. Knowing that you have a guaranteed chunk of time every day really helps you feel in control and that you can plan something for yourself.
The first thing I did was make napping a priority for myself. The nanny arrives at 8:30am and for the first couple of weeks I would go out on a walk with her and the boys would nap in the stroller. I did this for a couple of reasons (a) she was a stranger and I needed to get comfortable and make sure she didn’t kidnap my kids. (b) I felt guilty about not being with my babies 100% of the time and even after I was quite confident of her skills and that she was not going to steal my precious cargo, I continued to go on these walks.
The day after my breakdown post, I helped her strap the kids in the stroller, told her to stay out with them until it was time to eat again and went and took a nap.
OMG. It was like I had died and gone to heaven. A completely quiet and dark bedroom and the bed all to myself! I now do this every single day and get a good 1.5 to 2 hours nap. It has changed my life. I don’t feel so exhausted and crazy and overwhelmed. Sleep oh glorious sleep.
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Nap Training for Six Month Old Twins (read previous post on sleep training first)

NAP TRAINING:

After around 2 weeks of sleep training they started dropping their 3rd nap. I think it’s because they were getting such good sleep at night, but maybe it was just time/age appropriate. At this point, we started nap training. This was MUCH, MUCH, MUCH harder. Dear God, it was hard.

I’d heard from other twin moms that nap training could take up to a month. I didn’t believe them. It did. Only in this past week has W2 starting “getting it”. Most days, he still cries, but he’s getting it. Grunter got it after a week or so–no surprises there.

We saw a morning nap emerge at 9am and they both sleep for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. W2 seems to need a longer morning nap than Grunter. The nanny wheels them out of the house at 8:30 when she arrives and guess who goes back to sleep? ME!!!! It’s fucking awesome.
The stroller napping is not the best habit, but it’s one I’m willing to re-correct down the line if it means I get some much needed sleep at this point.

Their afternoon nap emerged at 12-12:30. Somedays even a bit earlier depending on the length of the morning nap. This one is strictly in the crib. What we discovered was that Grunter needs a LOT more sleep than W2 in the afternoon. We put them down for the same time and W2 is pretty consistent with 1.5 hrs. and there are quite a few days we have to WAKE UP Grunter after 3 hours!
For this nap, we try to wind it down about 20 minutes beforehand with a book, going into the bedroom where it’s nice and dark, putting on their sleep sacks to signal it’s sleepy time and singing them a song and doing a bit of cuddling. At the first of the month, resisting sleep and smart as a whip–they screamed as soon as they went in the dark bedroom but now, there is only fussing (sometimes) in the crib. Every day is different, but every day it gets better.

Again, I kept a very strict nap log which really helped when it looked like it wasn’t getting any better. It’s reassuring to be able to look back and SEE the progress.
Of course, nothing is constant and yesterday was a spectacularly crappy afternoon nap day, but today we are back to normal. You just have to go with the flow.

I don’t think I can adequately express how much this past month to month and 1/2 has changed my life. I don’t feel crazy anymore and much of that has to do with the boys going to sleep so easily. I can do this by myself now and totally handle them on my own. There’s no way that was possible before.

The fussiness from W2 has all but disappeared. It’s amazing. I honestly believe he had no other way to say “Hey Ladies, I’m fucking tired!!!” because he was getting such lousy sleep. Especially naps. Now, he is an absolute JOY, Grunter is great and we are all so much happier.

Questions? I hope this helps some of you out there struggling with the same issues. Sleep. Oh elusive baby sleep.
I’m so glad we did this.

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Sleep Training for 6 Month Old Twins–One Month In (read sleep background in previous post first)

Or I could title this:
How sleep training changed my life and possibly saved my sanity and marriage.

These are notes from the sleep log I started when we did Weissbluth’s CIO sleep training. I kept very careful notes to document any patterns and adjust times if needed:
  • The twins were exactly 5 months old (4 months adjusted). They sleep in cribs next to each other (in an “L” shaped formation in our room.
  • We hung a dark piece of fabric up (so ghetto!) over our roll shade as the room wasn’t dark enough. BUT, we did not want to do black out shades as I’ve heard from too many moms that now there kids won’t sleep unless it’s pitch black in the room. The last thing we want is to be bringing black garbage bags and masking tape when we go someone else’s house!
  • We found that moving up the time we put them down to sleep helped greatly. We never realized we were putting them to bed too late and that they wouldn’t wake any earlier from us putting them to sleep earlier. We experimented with the timing, but the sleep notes helped me to see what was their optimal time.
  • We also started a very strict bedtime routine. I can’t stress how important this is and what a difference this made.
Our Bedtime Routine:
  • Classical music and chill play time for 30 minutes prior to going to bed–no exersaucers, no jumperoos, no bouncy seats with crazy lights. Low stimulation.
  • Bath
  • Dried off and lotion baby massage on our bed in very dark bedroom, just enough light coming in from window to still read a book, no lights on
  • Warm BM bottles ready at the bedside
  • Cradle hold baby while propped up in bed, taking turns reading books (We kept the same 3-4 books, but might change them up after awhile. For now, we wanted repetition for everything).
  • Burp and cuddle baby
  • Pull shade completely
  • Put baby in crib
  • Sing a song–same song every night (because the cribs are in an L shape, if I put them down at the closet points together, I can still reach in and hold both their hands or rub their heads, backs, etc while I sing to them.)
  • Tell them I love them, night night.
  • Leave the room.

Night One–Total time crying: 45 minutes (on and off, not constant)

6pm down
10 minutes babbling from both, followed by slight crying from both
After all was quiet from Grunter, Whoop Whoop escalated the crying
W2’s crying went up and down like a swing, when all was quiet at 6:40.
I breathed a sigh of relief, followed by a grimace as he started up again.
But then all was quiet at 6:45 for the rest of the night.
10pm, woke up for dream feed, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
2:30am, woke to nurse, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
6am, woke to nurse, went immediately back to sleep at 6:30am, no fussing
8am, woke up to nurse and up for the day

Night Two–Total time crying: 40 minutes (on and off, not constant)
5:40 down
10 minutes babble, then quiet Grunter and crying W2
W2 again goes up and down with the crying
6:25 all goes completely quiet.
10pm, woke up for dream feed, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
3am, woke to nurse, went immediately back to sleep, no fussing
4:57am, W2 woke up. Decided to let him fuss a bit and see if he’d get himself back to sleep
13 minutes later all is quiet
5:57am, Grunter wakes up with a poopy diaper, won’t be soothed so I wake up W2 and nurse both of them.
6:30am, they both go back to sleep until 8am, no fuss, up for the day at 8am
9am, nursing

Night Three-Total time crying: 20 minutes (on and off, not constant)
6:50 down
Not a sound from Grunter
10 minutes of babbling from W2
7pm, slight crying from W2, followed by 5 minutes of silence
7:07, slight crying again from W2
7:10, all quiet for the night

Night Four–Total Time Crying: 10 minutes
6:35 down, drowsy but awake
No sound from either
6:44 slight fussing from W2
6:47 both crying/whining
6:55, all quiet for the night

Night Five–Total Time Fussing: 20 minutes but no REAL crying
6:08 Down, quiet babbling from both
6:22, slight crying/whining from W2
6:25, heavier from W2 but still not crying
6:27, babbling W2
6:28 All Quiet for the night

Night Six–No Crying
6:20 Fell asleep during their bottles
Transferred to cribs and never woke up
All Quiet for the night

Night Seven–Total Time Crying: 45 minutes
6:00 Down, naps were really messed up that day and babies are super fussy
Overly tired W2 wails for 45 minutes then conks out
Grunter sleeps through everything
Horrible Session, but yeah for Grunter–he’s got it.

Night Eight–Total Time Fussing/Crying: 18 minutes
6pm Down
6-6:05pm Babbling from both
Grunter falls asleep
6:05-6:14 Babbling from W2
6:15-6:18 Crying from W2
6:19 All Quiet

****For the first 8 nights we still did a bit (minute or two) of rocking/swaying/soothing. Starting night 10 we simply put them in their cribs***

Night Nine–No Crying
6:13 Down, drowsy but awake
No rocking, swaying, just a bath, bottle, book and song–kiss kiss night night
10 Minutes light babbling from Grunter
6:23 All Quiet for the night

Night Ten–Total Time Crying: 20-30 on and off
5:40 Down
Took too long for W2 to burp and he got cranky. Was already fussy since he’d been up since 3:45
No crying from Grunter
W2 cried on and off for 20-30 minutes
6:10 All Quiet

Night Eleven–No Crying
5:40 Down
5:40-6pm, Both are babbling
6pm, very slight crying from W2 for 1-2 minutes
6:10 All Quiet

Night Twelve–No Crying
6:10pm Down, Grunter is asleep
6:15, W2 babbling
6:25 All Quiet

Night Thirteen–Total Time Fussing: 20 minutes
5:25 Down, slight crying from W2
5:30 Babbling from both
5:40-6pm, on and off crying/fussing
6pm All Quiet

Night Fourteen–No Crying
5:30 Down
W2 had fallen asleep in arms during bottle
All Quiet

I have notes for the entire month, but I think you get the idea.
Basically, Grunter got it really fast and is a super sleeper and W2 took a lot longer. Grunter is a really deep sleeper and W2 is much lighter.
Also, we saw a pattern develop: W2 is a real people person, he hates to be alone. The babies would go to sleep at the same time and babble to each other for a good 5-10 minutes. Then Grunter would fall asleep and Bam! W2 would then start crying! It’s like he’s saying “Hey?! Where did my babble buddy go?!”

We also learned after 2 weeks that 6pm was really too late for their bedtime. We pushed it back to 5:30-5:45 and had much less crying.
In fact, for the rest of the month, most nights were no crying–perhaps some babbling/fussing, but no real crying and that’s what we are finding true to this day.

In fact, now almost 1.5 months later, we can put them in their cribs and they smile at us, but they don’t fuss or cry when we leave the room.
They rarely fuss at all during the night, waking only to feed and we put them right back down when they are done eating.

If we do have fussing in the middle of the night, unless it’s eating time–we DO NOT go get them. If the fussing turns into full blown crying, we go check the diaper situation. If that’s OK, we let them CIO for 5-10/15 minutes. IF they are still crying then, we go ahead and pick them up and try to settle them. Usually this works. It’s the secret world of babies, so you just have to take it night by night.

Also key is to not turn on any lights at night. We only have a small night light we turn on for diaper changes and quickly turn back off again. There are no toys, no talking, in fact we try to not even make eye contact! If we do, they start to smile and want to play! It’s night time boys, only for sleeping.

They sleep until 6am-6:30am. IF we had them in their own room, I’m pretty sure we could let them amuse themselves until 7am. However, since they are right beside us, once they are awake it’s not like we’re getting any more sleep with their chattering, so we might as well get up and start the day.

Questions? I hope this helps!

I can’t stress what a difference this has made. Yes, the crying was tough in the beginning, but I just had to remind myself that W2 could cry up to 2 hours IN MY ARMS before and he has never cried that long doing CIO.
We have our evenings back.
We have cooked dinner almost every night which we love plus, it saves us money.
We can MAKE PLANS to do something (one of us) while the other one stays home.
We can watch a movie.
We can have a date night because all the nanny has to do is come on over!
It’s great. Super freaking fantastic and I am SO glad we did this.


Next UP: Nap Training!!




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Sleep Training–Some Background

Background Information:

The twins have been sleeping in their cribs since the day they came home from the hospital at 5 days old. We have always done our best to keep them in the cribs for nap time as well as night time. Of course this wasn’t always possible and I have no idea how many times we let them nap on us or nap on the double breastfeeding pillow, but every night, without fail, they slept in their cribs.

All sleep books were considered and we looked into every method. The ‘put them to sleep drowsy but awake’, stand or sit by them and pat their backs (Ha! My babies would writhe away and scream in anger that YOU.ARE.NOT.PICKING.ME.UP!), etc, etc. Nothing worked. And we took the “you should never let a small baby cry” very seriously. In hindsight, maybe too seriously. As twins with both moms home, in a small one bedroom apartment, sleeping in cribs right beside us–they NEVER had to cry for more than a minute or two. They demanded. We responded. Fast. For four months +.

We tried everything possible to get them to sleep and over time we found the only thing that worked for us was to become human bouncy balls, rockers, swayers, soothers, shushers and pray-ers. We dreaded night time. Getting them to sleep for night time could take up to 2 hours. For nap time, it was easily an hour and that’s 3 naps a day! So you do the math: we were spending up to 5 hours a day just trying to get them to sleep.
It was never easy. The baby had to fall asleep completely in our arms and then we had to try to get that baby from our arms into the crib without waking up. That rarely worked and we would try multiple times before maybe, finally our efforts were met with success. I became someone who pleaded with the baby and prayed to Gods I don’t even really believe in.

Whoop Whoop was the worst. Plus, he was colicky. Chicken and I would employ a ‘take turns’ approach, because one can only bounce on a yoga ball for so long without going bat shit crazy.
Grunter was better, but only marginally. However, we could usually get him to sleep first and then concentrate on W2. Over time, Grunter learned to sleep through W2’s crying. And let me tell you, that boy could cry and cry and cry. There were nights he would cry for up to 2 hours, while he was being ‘soothed’ and bounced in our arms.

We had decided to try the Ferber sleep method first (and hopefully last) when we got back from Argentina (at 4.5 months). This is a method where you put the baby down drowsy but awake and go in to check and comfort the baby in increments of 5-10-15 minutes, etc.
We couldn’t even take that and did it in increments of 3-6-9. All it did was piss them off that we weren’t picking them up (you are supposed to comfort them in the crib quickly and walk away) and they kept crying. All we got out of it was knowing we had 3-6-9-12 minutes to get things done–like prepare dinner.
After 30 minutes of non-stop crying you are supposed to go in and do whatever it takes to get the baby to sleep. So, you guessed it, it was back to rocking/swaying/bouncing, etc. The only difference was that it was faster this time around as they had exhausted themselves from crying so long. It felt HORRIBLE and many times I cried right along with them. I hated it. We tried this method almost 2 weeks.


Most sleep training (CIO-cry it out) suggests that you not start before four months of age as a baby is not able to self soothe before this point. For us, that meant five months. I have no shame in saying that we were counting the days down until we could do this.
It just so happened that on their five month birthday (June 21), Chicken had to be out of town and I was left on my own for my first ever overnight.
Faced with trying to rock/bounce/sway two babies at the same time, I decided it was time to do the Weissbluth CIO that very evening. I soothed them as best as I could and then went to take a shower.
Yes. You read that right. They had been fed. They were clean. They were dry. And they were safe in their cribs. I closed the door, turned on the water and took the longest shower I’d had since before they were born. I couldn’t hear a thing and I was OK with that. They were OK, too.
I still ended up going back in to comfort them once I got out of the shower, but they fell asleep much quicker than ever before.

The next night, when Chicken came home, I told her in no uncertain terms that for our sanity, we had to start CIO. She had been very resistant and I wouldn’t take no for an answer. She agreed quite quickly when I told her of my partial success the night before and that very evening we started CIO.

I want to stress that our version of CIO was NOT to get them to sleep through the night. They were still too small weight-wise to do that and we had no problem with their 10pm and 2am feeds.
We were simply looking for a method to get them to sleep, learn self soothing techniques and become better sleepers in the long run.

We were also looking to save our sanity and our marriage!

Next UP: Sleep Training 101 Notes

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Not Ready To Quit

Since my broken titty about 3 weeks ago, I have had:

  • a clogged milk duct in the opposite breast
  • a clogged milk duct in the same (mastitis) breast *last weekend*
  • a probable yeast infection in the same (mastitis) breast *happening for the last couple of days*
  • a clogged milk duct in the same (mastitis) breast *happening now*
I worked through the clogs previously, so I’m pretty sure I can do it again (which is why I’m up pumping at 2am….)
But, this is getting really, really old.
And painful.

I learned that the yeast infection (self diagnosed) was probably caused by my not taking probiotics when I took the antibiotics to get rid of the mastitis. That sucks.
And the yeast infection hurts to nurse worse than the mastitis.
It hurt so bad yesterday I avoided pumping in between feeds and the next thing I know I’ve got a lumpy hard breast. Again.

I’ve heard that once you get a clogged milk duct or mastitis you can have more problems. And you know I could take this even once a month. But this is weekly or more now. This is ridiculous.

Chicken has brought up the Q word. I’m not ready. It would break my heart to quit right now because I’m really enjoying breastfeeding my babies and I would hate to quit when I’m not ready. But my body seems to really be rebelling against my best intentions.
I just don’t know what to do.

For now, I’m sleeping on the couch with a heating pad on my breast and pumping away.
Tomorrow is another day. One with hot rice socks in my bra, more feeding, constant pumping, massages and probably some prayers.

I’m not ready to quit.

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I Have Six Month Old Twins (a very long letter)

How did that happen? I still can’t believe it, it has gone by SO fast.

Actually, they are older than 6 months old, now….but this post is a little late!

In six short months, we went from this:

To This:


The boys had their 6 month check up and things are going really well.
Whoop Whoop went from 23 1/4″ and 10 lbs 4 oz to 25 1/2″ and 13 lbs, 13 oz.
Grunter went from 23″ and 9 lbs, 6 oz to 25 1/4″ and 14 lbs, 1 oz.
My boys aren’t so little anymore! And Grunter, who used to be our “Little Guy” at a pound lighter than his brother, just blew past him!
They are in the 25% for height and still between 5-10% for weight, but compared to their stats at 4 months, they are really starting to gain on the curve.
I have no regrets about introducing the dream feed bottle of formula and the BM bottle at bedtime as I really think they needed some more calories than they were getting from BFing.
We’ve been giving them solids for the last month which no doubt helped as well.

They’ve grown out of all their 0-3/3 months clothes and are firmly in the 6 months clothes now. This past month was the fastest they’ve grown out of things, including diapers! I never knew how hard it would be to say ‘goodbye’ to certain little outfits. So sad! I’m happy my little babies are growing and getting big, but it’s bittersweet at the same time.

Boys, where do I even begin? This past month from 5-6 months has really been the best month ever. I feel like we’ve gotten over a difficult newborn/infant phase and we are finally hitting our groove. We found you a really wonderful person to come see you almost every day–she is your Hot Nanny and you love her! She has made our life so much easier and we are thankful every day we found such a gem.

You are so much fun and I am overjoyed every morning seeing your little faces light up with smiles for me and your mama. You are both extremely smiley babies and have really outgrown your fussiness (thank GOD!). The mornings are filled with your chattering voices.
Grunter, you really love to talk! Whoop Whoop, you’ve been a lot more quiet than your brother, but you are quickly finding your voice as well. What you have learned to do is make a “ptuh” noise, sort of like blowing bubbles. Very cute, but quite messy when you do it with a mouth full of food.
You both love kisses, but Grunter, you LIVE for them. Whoop Whoop, I can always get a laugh out of you by tickling you under your chin. I thought this was such a strange place since you aren’t really ticklish all over like your brother. Then, one day I reached over and tickled your mama under the chin and guess what? She giggled just like you! Neither of us knew she was ticklish there either?!

This past month you really discovered each other. Before it was almost as if you looked past each other and only occassionally was there a glimpse of recognition that the ‘thing’ over there was interesting. Now, you find each other very interesting! You are constantly exploring each other, mostly by Whoop Whoop trying to eat Grunter’s hands and feet. Grunter, you are learning to assert yourself by pulling away instead of letting yourself be a chew toy and once you even pulled your brother’s hair. Your brother bites down pretty hard with his gummy grasp and I’m never quite sure if I should let you figure out how to save yourself or to save you. I’ve decided on a 50/50 approach which is going well.

Mobility
You have both lost almost all interest in the play gym and I feel like that’s going the way of the classifieds section very soon. For now, we’ve folded it away and you much prefer to play with all of the toys instead. We have a nice foam playmat and you spend a lot of time surrounded by toys rolling around and listening to classical music. No TV for you! We play little games of putting your favorite toys out of your reach and making you work for it.
Oh, your screeches of frustration! But you are learning to move yourselves around quite well.
Grunter, you have gone to hating tummy time to suddenly flipping over to your stomach almost as soon as we put you down. You constantly practice the ‘baby cobra’ position and can turn yourself in a complete circle swimming around. You go crazy that you aren’t moving forward, but you will, my son, all in due time.

Whoop Whoop, you seem to be pretty happy on your back most of the time rolling from side to side getting your toys. When we put you on your stomach for tummy time, you immediately roll on your back as if to say “no thanks!”
Now that you both finally have solid neck control, the exersaucer has become a fun toy and you are more interested in your bouncy seats than ever before. Whoop Whoop, you love to kick the toys on your bouncy seat and play with them with your feet. If I give you a toy and you lose it, you have learned to scoot it back up with your feet. Very clever, little man!

Speaking of toys, you both are in love with Sophie the Giraffe (good thing we have two, thanks to Lucky Little 13!), soft plastic books (thanks to 2 Girls and Their Family!) and Eric Carle toys such as Fergie, your Frog and Inchey the Caterpillar. Whoop Whoop, you have adored looking at yourself in the mirror for a very long time and now your brother is discovering the joys of admiring his own good looks as well.
You are both fascinated to grab at our faces and love to put your fingers in our mouths. We are getting a nice upper body workout lifting you over our heads playing ‘airplane’. Oh how you love this game!
And finally, you noticed the cat! Anytime the cat comes into your vision, everything stops. Whoop Whoop, your eyes get so big, you make baby gorilla noises and lunge for the cat. Grunter, you are only slightly more restrained. The cat is being very patient and will come over from time to time, but it’s good the cat is fairly young and quick, because he’s going to get a lot of exercise running away from both of you. That’s OK, he’s gotten a little fat:)

The absolute favorite toys though are your own body parts! Whoop Whoop, you are entertained by your feet day and night. They fascinate you to no end and it’s hysterical to watch you try to figure out why they turn into giraffes or puppys or dinosaurs at night when we put on your footed pj’s. Grunter, you are only starting to discover your feet. I think your mommies may have done a little foot discovery damage by keeping both of you in socks for the first 4-5 months. After our E/R scare with the toe hair tourniquet, we became overly paranoid about your toes being exposed and covered them day and night. Finally, I convinced your mama that it was time to unwrap the toes and voila! It was like we uncovered the best present ever that had been right there in front of you all along.

Breastfeeding is still going strong! You are easier to feed than ever before and while I hate, hate, hate pumping, I LOVE breastfeeding you both. I am still able to put you on the double breast feeding pillow and it melts my heart every time to look down and watch you holding hands as you drink away. Whoop Whoop, you are always reaching for your brother. If you can’t find his hand, you keep reaching until you can hold on to a part of him. It’s absolutely adorable.
You are both getting more and more distracted with the tandem breastfeeding. I have to request all other humans are absent from the room or else you just turn your heads to watch them. But I will keep up with this system until it’s simply impossible.
The hardest thing for now is keeping your hands out of your mouth so you can feed!

Grunter, you have discovered your arm can swing up and down and your little hand can slap. Do you know those kitty cat clocks they have in practically every store or restaurant in Chinatown (but I think they are really Japanese) where the arm goes up and down? That’s you my boy and you prefer to practice this new trick while you are breastfeeding slapping and slapping and slapping me! It’s funny but it does hurt a little!
This month, your mama decided to stop breastfeeding you. No matter how much she pumped or how many little milk pills she took, she just wasn’t producing enough milk for a full feed. Since she had to go back to work, it was time to make that decision. She misses it and I miss watching her do it, but it was so wonderful she had that opportunity and we wouldn’t change a thing.

I never knew that feeding you solids would be so much fun! We started you off in your bumbo seats, but you weren’t quite ready for that, so we’ve been feeding in your bouncy seats which is so much better. Rice cereal and breast milk was your first meal and while you liked it, we think it gave Grunter a rash on his face. We stopped all solids for one week, re-introduced the rice cereal and he got another rash! Grunter, if you are allergic to rice this is going to make our future travels to South East Asia very tricky indeed! For now, you have eaten: rice and oatmeal cereal, applesauce, bananas (which were like crack to you) and avocado. So far, we are making most of your food ourselves by steaming it and then using a hand held blender to puree. I like knowing exact what you are getting in your little bodies and ensuring it’s all organic and pure.

Grunter, you are a very hesitant eater. You make a face on every first bite and even if you had that food the day before and we know you like it, you still act like you don’t at first. You are also a very clean eater. Your don’t really like the food to get on your face and hands.
Whoop Whoop, you start kicking and slapping your arms when you see the food bowls. You are going to be the kid who never saw a food he didn’t like (we hope!). Your preferred method of eating is for us to spoon it in your mouth, you to shove your hand in your mouth and then slap your food and drool covered hand on your face, rub your eyes, slap your legs and possibly shove your foot in just to make sure you are totally covered with food. It’s hysterical, but my god you are a mess at the end!
Overall, in most things, you are completely different from each other. It’s amazing!

Sleep Training. Well, this one was a hard decision and we hoped to never do it. It deserves it’s own post. Suffice to say, we had to do it and we are glad we did.
You are both much better sleepers now and even weaned yourselves from your pacifiers. That was amazing!
We established a firm night time schedule starting at 4:30pm with breastfeeding, a little play, bath, a 7 ounce bottle of BM, and we read you 3 books while you are being fed and then I sing you a song, Edleweiss from the Sound of Music.
You both go to sleep between 5:30 and 6pm and sleep until 6-7am. We are still feeding you a dream feed bottle of formula between 10-10:30 and then you wake up to breastfeed around 2am.
There are very few nights that you ‘fuss’ after a feeding, but sometimes you do try to host your own late night talk show with Grunter starring as Howar.d Stern and Whoop Whoop as Robin. When this happens, we take our earplugs and go sleep in the living room, because I’m not sure what the topic is, but it is LOUD. We keep trying to tell you that your ratings will go up if you host the show during the day, but so far you are ignoring us. Thankfully, you haven’t done this too many times!
As with most things you even sleep differently with Grunter on his stomach, both arms tucked underneath and butt high in the air while his brother is a side or back sleeper.

The bedtime and dream feedings are our favorites as you are such sleepy, lovey lumps. Neither of you are very cuddly babies and this is the only time of the day that we can just hold you on our chests and breathe in your perfect baby smell. Many nights your mama and I will just lay on the bed, long after you have been fed and burped and cuddle you.
We are both keenly aware that you are growing up very fast and we won’t always be able to have these moments with you.
For now, we are treasuring every wonderful moment.

Every night, we read you the book “Guess How Much I Love You“. We read it to you every night while you were still in my belly and I always tell you that you have no idea how much I love you. You don’t. You never will. Maybe, just maybe someday when you have your own children you just might get it. But my love for you is so intense, it often makes me teary. We are so lucky to have you, boys. We love you right up to the moon. And back.