Three Months Old!

Dear babies,

I would swear it was like a week ago that you were turning two months. But you’ve just turned three months already! That sounds so old–time is really starting to go quickly. Ack! You’re officially infants, no longer newborns. 😦DSC_0019-2

You are continuing to grow, though it seems like it’s slowed down a bit. You’re both about twelve and a half pounds. Malcolm, you’re just over 23 inches long, and Emmett, you’re 22.5 inches long. You’re still packing on weight in your deliciously chunky legs. 🙂DSC_0044-14(Emmett and his elephant)  DSC_0038 (2)-13

(Malcolm and his monkey)

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(Update on the crocheted blanket. The first photo I took of them with the blanket, their feet reached the orange stripe.)

You haven’t changed drastically since last month, but your physical development has gotten a bit more sophisticated. You’re not quite grabbing or batting toys yet, but I can see a lot of improvement in your hand dexterity. You bring them together often and you can sort of wrap your fingers together. You both (especially Emmett) like to put one or both hands around your bottle.

Of course we still read a lot to you. We’ve graduated you to some simple story books, though your favorites are the two books about colors–often you give a huge smile at some of them. You both look intently at the pages of whatever we’re reading, and I think you already understand the left-right orientation of books.

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With the generosity of so many friends and family, we have accumulated a lot of 3month clothes for you! Happily you’ll be wearing that size for a bit yet, so I’m hoping to get some use out of all of those outfits. Just this week I put pants on you guys for the first time ever. You looked pretty silly, but of course still adorable. 🙂DSC_9999-7

No more grunting in your sleep. You still make some funny noises when you wake up or stretch, but the noisiness has gone away. This may have actually happened last month; I just didn’t realize it until this month. That means naptime and nighttime are a lot quieter for all of us and certainly that means we get better rest.

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Speaking of rest, you have gotten even better at sleeping this month! You started sleeping for two long stretches overnight, and it seems you’re ready to sleep through the night. I’m very excited about that. 🙂

This month I realized that you guys don’t do your diva hand anymore. When I burp you by sitting you up on my lap, one or both of your hands would rise up like either a dramatic singer, or a zombie. 🙂 It was so adorable but I guess now you’ve outgrown it. Now sometimes as I’m patting your pack, you’ll kind of bob your head along with me.

Your head control has gotten really good, much steadier. Not totally 100% yet, but a big difference. And just this week you’ve suddenly gotten stronger at tummy time, especially when you’re on a boppy. Soon we’ll start working on sitting up!

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You had your first Valentine’s Day and I got one of the most adorable photos of you thus far. 🙂

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You’ve been almost giggling for a couple weeks, but no clear laughs just yet. I think you are really close; you both do this kind of proto laugh gasp grunt kind of thing. And you both smile all the time! Malcolm, you in particular always have lots of big smiles at the ceiling above the changing table–we assume there are some friendly ghosts up there or something. 🙂

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You can track us from pretty far away. You watch us approaching and leaving wherever you are (your Rock N Play or your boppy) and when you see us, you smile. On the changing table, when we walk around to the trash can, you follow us upside down and still smile at us! I can never get enough of your beautiful smiles.

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Malcolm, you started enjoying sticking your tongue out and it’s become a game. One of us will stick our tongue out, and you’ll give a big grin and in a moment stick your own tongue out and then grin some more.

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Here’s a video of the fun:

You’re so precious and it’s still so amazing to hold you and get to know you! I’m still sad at how much you’ve already changed, but as you start interacting with us more and more, and I get to look in your eyes as you look right back, I love you both more and more.

Love,

mama

Is it really true??

The babies slept through the night last night!!!

Ready for our secret?

Well, too bad. We don’t have one. We didn’t do anything. The babies apparently sleep trained themselves and we just allowed it to happen.

Here’s the progression.

In January, they dropped one of the overnight feedings and started sleeping 5-6 hours. (It started the night they got their shots–they were so worn out that we just let them sleep and they just kept going.) We started feeding them extra at the last feeding to make up for the dropped one. So for this time they were sleeping from 1am-ish to 6am-ish. I would have to pump at both of those feedings. I stayed up and often did that last one on my own, while Andy went to bed to get more sleep, since he had to work.

Then about two weeks ago, they dropped another overnight feeding. They slept from about 10 to 2 or 3am, then we fed them and they slept until 8 or so. We weren’t waking them up; we went by when they woke up. I would pump around 10pm and then again when we fed them overnight. Since we were back to both of us doing the feeding, we kept them in our room for it, like we did for their first two weeks. It was actually kind of nice, that quiet, dark hour, the four of us together. (Between then and now they would have either stayed downstairs or been brought down, since only one of us was doing those feedings.) It also meant that both of us were getting about two three-hour stretches of sleep. This added up to more than we’d been getting previously (five or so hours), but it was even tougher to have that interruption instead of one solid block of rest. As for feedings, we continued to give them an extra ounce at the last evening feeding and the first morning feeding.

Over the last few days,we started attempting a bedtime routine. We put them in their swaddle sacks before they start eating (we’d been doing it after and it woke them up), turn all the lights off except one floor lamp, and put on music. One of them (it’s never consistently one in particular) usually falls asleep while eating, and the other will often finish eating and fall asleep later, after we put him down.

Also over the last couple days, they started waking up later overnight; the night before last they woke up at 430am. They woke up again around 930, which is the latest we’ve ever started the day.

So last night one of them made a bit of noise at 5am. Whichever baby it was quieted right back down, though. So we figured that we would just wait and see what would happen. I had to get up anyway to pump, so I left the three of them to go back to sleep. And they did! At 7 one of them started stirring and making more waking-up noise (the other was still asleep–that baby had eaten more at the last feeding). So we got them up! Malcolm was very antsy, clearly hungry, but he was also really happy and cheerful. It was so cute. No matter how tired I am when I pick them up or wake them up, I can’t help but smile at them and they are often smiling at me, and I instantly feel a little more awake.

I have no idea how we got so lucky even this far with their sleep, and of course we have no idea if this long stretch of sleep will continue. I sure hope so! We need to figure out how to keep their intake the same for the day, without feeding them too much at one time (they spit up). I’m hoping they’ll start being awake more during the day and napping more consistently–currently it’s kind of whenever. I also know there’s a sleep regression coming in about a month, so I hope that we can start recovering a bit and be more rested before that craziness happens.

Things I Wish I Had Known

I read a lot, in general. So of course when I was pregnant, I was excited to read books and blogs and learn new things about pregnancy and babies. However, I was disappointed because all the books (hahaha, “all the books”; I read like three) and blogs have the same old information. Fetus size compared to food. Complications. Morning sickness. Weight gain and nutrition. Call your doctor when. Blah blah everybody knows this already! Tell me something new! Tell me something that I really need to know!

Here are a few things about pregnancy and newborns that I wish had been in the books and blogs! Maybe it will be helpful to someone else out there.

It’s possible to have a twin pregnancy without major complications.

A multiple pregnancy is automatically categorized as high-risk. Lots of shit can go wrong with more than one bun in the oven, for the buns as well as for the baker. (Haha!) When we learned that I was carrying two wee ones, I assumed that a) I would get super giant super quick, and b) I would have problems and go on bedrest etc. However, neither of those things happened. As the weeks went by, I continued being surprised at how uneventful my ‘high-risk’ pregnancy was. I kind of felt bad about having it so easy, and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are a lot of women out there (and I’ve met some) who did indeed have a lot of serious complications, and this is not meant to dismiss them or their experiences in any way. I just wish that it was made clear that it doesn’t end up that way for everyone. Everyone should be prepared for issues, but it doesn’t have to be a given or an assumption, if that makes sense. We got lucky.

Pregnancy can cause congestion and therefore snoring.

I read this tidbit in one book–I don’t remember which one–and I was surprised. The reason was increased something or other–more pressure, more fluid, something like that. I thought it was interesting and I was also surprised it wasn’t in the rest of the books with the other classic symptoms. By seven months if not sooner, I had started snoring at night! I was so embarrassed but at least I knew why it was happening. Didn’t make it easier on my husband, who ended up sneaking out to the guest room when it got to be too much. But he was (generally) understanding about it not being my fault and only being temporary. (And it was. By a week or so after babies, the snoring stopped. Thank goodness.)

New babies sleep a lot.

I sort of knew this maybe, in the back of my mind. But nowhere was it made explicit that newborns sleep almost literally all day long. Not counting feedings, of course. But they are hardly ever awake. No one told me that!

Related: Newborns are boring.

They sleep all day and eat every few hours around the clock. But that’s it! Not very interesting at all. You will be very tired but not exactly busy. You can’t do anything fun unless it’s in one or two hour chunks between feedings. You could read a lot, if you had the mental wherewithal. But if you’re like us, you’ll veg on the couch like zombies and watch a lot of television. This is a great time to watch an entire series on Netflix, Hulu, or DVD. Don’t forget your laptop. But be aware that no one else is up in the middle of the night, so Facebook gets boring. Could be a good time to write subpar and silly blog posts though! 🙂

Diaper rash is not a rash.

I felt really stupid about this. I assumed that anything called a rash would look like an actual damn rash! But diaper rash is more like redness and chapped skin. My MIL was here when the babies were six weeks old and told us that they had some diaper rash. I had no idea! We had the ointment in the changing table, because I’d read about the good brands and that it’s important to have, so we got to treat it right away. But I had no idea what to look for! Duh!

Bibs are important right away!

At the family baby shower I had last summer, I must have received close to twenty tiny bibs. I thought that my aunts and cousins were getting me set up for the messy eating stage with baby food and such. It took us over a month of spitty babies in dirty onesies to figure out to put the bibs on the babies now. Talk about DUH! The bibs do catch a lot of the spit up and prevent some of the outfit-soiling. Of course, just as often, the spit up rolls right OFF the bib and onto US.

Not all babies are fussy.

I read the book Happiest Baby on the Block, as it was highly recommended by several people and one of our childbirth classes. I read about the 5 S’s and felt like I was more prepared for our babies, though I was scared of all the horror stories–hours of screaming babies and exhausted, frustrated parents! I think I assumed that all babies do that. Happily, our babies didn’t. Not all babies have colic or scream. Ours, in fact, didn’t really cry at all for most of the first month. We did find the shushing extremely effective when they would get upset, and of course we swaddle them. But we never needed to ‘escalate’ to the other S’s. Thank goodness.

Babies *can* sleep.

There are also a lot of horror stories of babies who never sleep. Who wake up throughout the night, even between feeding times. Who have trouble going to sleep or being soothed back to sleep. Again, because of the prevalence of these stories, I think I assumed and was afraid that all babies did this. I was dreading months of never getting any sleep at all. Ours actually sleep pretty well already, and according to the twins group I belong to on facebook, plenty of other babies do too. Frankly, I think everyone is quiet about this because we don’t want to make anyone feel bad whose babies have trouble sleeping!

It really is fine to wake a sleeping baby/babies can be scheduled.

This is one of the cardinal baby rules–‘don’t ever wake a sleeping baby!’ This is the first baby rule broken by people with twins. It’s total bullshit. Another rule–baby experts insist that newborns can’t/shouldn’t be on a schedule. Again, bullshit. Ours were on a schedule from literally day one, in the hospital. (This is the case with most if not all the twins I’ve ever heard of.) It wasn’t a firm schedule at first in terms of the same time every day, but damn straight we woke the one or both babies when it was time to eat. And they’re great with it. Not to say we don’t feed them a little ‘snack’ when they are clearly hungry, but the feedings have always been three to four hours apart. And they eat great and have been growing like adorable, chubby little weeds!

All baby seats/bouncers are not the same

I remember hearing several recommendations for a Rock N Play. I thought it was just a bouncy seat. At one of the big consignment sales, I found two bouncy seats and figured that was good. No no, not so! Turns out I bought a bouncer and a rocker, and they are NOT the same as a Rock N Play. Our tiny babies were way too tiny for the bouncer and the rocker, but they were just fine–and very happy–in the Rock N Play. It was really helpful for them to sleep in the RNP because the incline kept them from spitting up. (Andy figured out in the hospital that they needed to be kept at a little incline for 15-20 minutes after eating so they wouldn’t spit up all over themselves.) We’d had them in a co-sleeper, which of course has a flat surface. Moving them to the RNPs made a big difference. They’re still in them now, at three months. We’ve just introduced them to the bouncer and the rocker, and they seem to enjoy them. The vibrating function is new to them, and they seem to like sitting up in the rocker.

We got all of these used, by the way. If you have twins, you should invest in at least one of each of these, but don’t buy new. Check craigslist and your local twins club. Ours has a great classified section–that’s where we got the Rock N Plays and our co-sleeper.

Bouncer

A bouncer has stationary legs and springy legs attached to the seat. Most of them have a vibrating function. The seat is very inclined. The babies can kick a lot in this seat, which in turns makes the seat bounce–very exciting.
Rocker seat

A rocker seat has rocking legs and a vibrating function. The baby sits up much straighter than in a bouncer, so he can look around at the world instead of just the ceiling. (Although our babies continue to be entranced by ceilings everywhere, so.)

Rock n’ Play

The Rock N Play is much taller than the other two and folds up. The seat is inclined, and of course it rocks back and forth, which is very soothing. I think the seat also kind of envelops the baby, which is another soothing feeling. This one does not vibrate.

Note: These are Amazon affiliate links.

Anything you found out the hard way that should have been in the pregnancy/new baby books?

the other side of the curtain

Recently I attended a brunch party/gathering hosted by our local twins club. There were a ton of people there–most of them were parents of twin babies, but a good number were expectant parents. I ended up chatting with a couple people, including one girl who’s due in a few months. She asked a few questions about my experiences and of course I shared.

Then it struck me. A few months ago I was at another brunch talking to moms/parents with two month old twins, asking about their experiences, wondering what things would be like for me. I remember being impressed that they were out and about with such tiny babies, and that they seemed fairly normal–not going crazy from sleep deprivation.

Now I’m on the other side of that fence. I’m the one out with young babies and trying to appear normal (and not just because I’m tired! Ha!). I find that incredibly, incredibly strange and unreal. Not the part about giving advice; I love doing that if I can be helpful. But the part about how I was pregnant with twins. And now I have two-month-old twin babies. What?!!

Like I’m now in a club. The pregnant club, the parent club, the grownup club. Except I really don’t feel like I should be in any of those. Someone’s mother? TWO someones’s mother? Not me! That is ridiculous. I don’t know anything!

Sometimes I look around and see all these people and their kids of various ages. I think, wow, everyone does this! How does everyone do this?? Do they have some secret? Surely they know more than I do? Surely they feel equipped and ready and adult enough to deal with babies and children? This shit isn’t easy. And this part we’re in right now is so freaking easy, compared to what’s coming! Sometimes I’m like, wow, we’re doing okay…but it’s been less than three months. We have eighteen years to go. EIGHTEEN. YEARS. Holy shit. Will we ever feel ready? Will I ever feel like I have a rightful place in those ‘clubs’?

Timewarp

Our babies are twelve weeks old today. They’re now ‘real babies’, because the ‘fourth trimester’ stage is over.

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Same baby, same socks. Above: two days old. Below: eight weeks old.

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So many things have changed since they were born, and it’s really hard to fully ‘get.’ I look at the first few weeks of pictures and I see their scrawny limbs, and then I look at them now, chubby everything, and I just…can’t. I can’t understand how they changed so much and I missed it. I can’t forgive myself for not fully photographing them while we were in the hospital. [One of the nurses said something about how they should never be unwrapped. I took that literally and so there’s only one photo of them fully unwrapped–when they were on the warming table in the recovery room. And for pete’s sake, nothing bad would have happened if I’d unwrapped them for two minutes to snap a few photos in their bassinets or being held by one of us. What the heck was I thinking?] I can’t believe I didn’t insist that more photos be taken of me with my brand new babies–and I can’t believe that no one else thought to. I can’t believe that I didn’t take more pictures when they were newly at home. I can’t believe I don’t remember every single detail.

It’s already hard to remember them being so small. I don’t know if I can remember what it felt like to hold their tiny bodies. (I feel betrayed by my terrible memory.) I do remember the feeling of their velvety skin, especially their backs when I held them skin-to-skin. And I remember being a little heartbroken when I realized at five or six weeks that their skin felt regular, not newborn-soft anymore.

Somehow those first days each felt so long and also like they all ran together. We were all kind of in a fog, even though we didn’t feel completely and utterly exhausted. Those first two weeks seem a lifetime ago. Was that really us? Was that really them? Did that really happen?

It was around five weeks that we noticed they felt heavier. But in pictures from then, they still look pretty small. They could still fit, snugly, into the same boppy. DSC_8327-11

In the last month they’ve become little chunksters with fat rolls everywhere. Their chubby faces look almost completely different from their first month.

My whole hand is the width of their backs now–at the beginning my hand was about the size of their entire backs. Their fingernails used to be so tiny as to be practically invisible. Now they’re normal baby-sized fingernails. Their two tiny bodies used to fit comfortably on my chest, and now only one can.

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It’s hard to imagine what can or will change physically in the coming months. Or how it could possibly be more drastic and emotional than these first changes that happened without me knowing. And don’t even bring up the fact that in a few more blinks, my sweet cuddly babies will be loud, smelly, surly teenagers.

Schedule update v2: What We’re Doing Now. (2.5 months)

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Babies started sleeping longer at 8 weeks, so for the last three weeks our schedule has changed. They’re 11 weeks old now and they eat every 3-4 hours (before, they were pretty regularly eating every 3.5 hours). We now actually look for their cues (rooting, eating their hands, sudden crying)–sometimes they’re hungry in 3 hours, and sometimes they’ll nap until it’s been four hours. The last feeding is anywhere from 12 to 2am, depending, and I usually stay up with them for this last part. Andy gets them up for the morning feeding (between 6 and 7am, usually) while I sleep a little longer. They take 5 ounces before and after that stretch, and 4 at the other feedings.

They’re still doing fine with that 5-6 hour stretch overnight. Both of them apparently don’t actually sleep that whole time–one or both start making noise–but they are fine going without eating. I figure that’s an important step and soon they’ll start sleeping longer.

Since all of these feedings depend on the babies, we never know ahead of time what our days will look like. That’s frustrating. I feel like I can’t schedule outings or agree to them ahead of time. I suppose soon we’ll be able to get them on a firmer eating/napping schedule, maybe once they can eat a little more at a time so they don’t start getting hungry sooner than four hours. I think at three months their tummies must be more ready for that, since that’s when sleep training/schedules might start working.

In other, slightly related news, this past week I’ve successfully changed my pumping schedule. Instead of 30 minutes every 3 hours, now I’m doing 40ish minutes every four hours (plus the six hours overnight). The good news is A) that means I only pump five times a day instead of six, and B) my supply has kept up, and even gone up slightly. (That’s a relief because for now we won’t have to supplement more with formula and spend more money.)The bad news is that the feeding and pumping sessions often don’t overlap, which means there is even less time to do anything non-baby related.

My next step is deciding if/when to further extend that schedule. Perhaps next week I’ll see if I can do every five hours. Eventually I’d like to get to only pumping a few times a day, but I don’t know if I want to do two or three, and what that will look like, or how long I’ll continue.

I should be going back to work (part time, at home) at the end of this month, and I’m starting to worry about being able to fit in work with feedings and pumping, let alone the naps I try to take in the mornings! It makes me tired and cranky just to think about it. :/

Our nanny has been with us for four weeks now. She’s here on Mondays and Fridays for eight hours. She is so great with the babies, and she does laundry too! In the mornings, I pump, take a nap, eat, pump, and then in the afternoons run errands and try to take a walk. I feel weird sometimes that I’m home while someone else is taking care of my babies, but quite frankly it’s a relief to have some time off, especially to have time to take a nap. Knowing that I have that ‘guaranteed’ time twice a week helps get me through the other days when I don’t have a chance. We are very privileged to be able to afford a nanny, and very lucky to have a great one.

We’re also lucky that the babies have been doing pretty well with sleep. In the next few weeks we’ll have to start working on a bedtime routine, and a feeding/nap structure to the day. Hopefully their sleeping will get even better–and so will ours.