Monday, August 2, 2010

Insert Clever Title Here

I realized recently that my posts have become nothing more than whines/advice-begging sessions, and MAN. For my non-parent friends, these must be BO-RING. So here is some non-baby related news:
-I ran yesterday, and it was AWESOME. Awesome, awesome, awesome. I felt more human while running than I had for almost a year. I guess last August was the last time I ran with any regularity. I know I took a few runs in September, but I started the meds for my IVF cycle in early September, and the Lup.ron had me so wonky, I didn't feel much like running for the first few weeks of the month. I know that sometime around my birthday (late September) was the last time I ran, so yesterday's session was a long-awaited return to one of my favorite activities.

I set out with the intention to restart the Couch to 5K program that I used to start running in the first place (step one: run one minute followed by one and a half minutes of walking for 20 minutes), but after running 60 seconds, I didn't want to stop. So I kept going. aI ended up running 15 minutes, walking 2.5 minutes, then running another 2.5 minutes, with appopriate warm-up/cool-down walking as well.

And well. It was great. My mile time sucked (11:35 per mile), but since I didn't even expect to run a mile at all, I'm okay with that (for now). I have no intention of returning to athletic glory (hah. that would imply that I was ever a glorious athlete, natch), but rather to burn off the incredible stress of parenting twins.

If I haven't said it in a while, IT'S HARD. IT'S REALLY FRICKIN' HARD. (I have a delicately worded post regarding elective single embryo transfer rolling around in my head, but I haven't yet figured out exactly how to say what I want to say, knowing that nothing we place on line is private in any way, and knowing how I would hate for either of my boys to read it some day and feel that I had in any way regretted their existence. That part is not true. Both boys are little gems, priceless little beams of brightness in my life and I couldn't imagine my world without either of them. BUT. It's hard. And I'm very lucky to be able to stay home with them, and to have had a ton of child care experience in my past, not to mention having the luck of having had a full-term pregnancy, but I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who wasn't sure what they were getting in to, or who had to do it while balancing a career, too, or who had seriously preterm babies, or who had a husband-- or other family-- who was less than helpful. So. Yeah. Hard.)

--Sadly, I can't think of much else to say about my life as of late that does not somehow involve the boys. I'm sorry to my readers who (rightfully) find the baby talk boring. Someday, I'll be able to talk about something else, I'm sure.

Oh, actually, I know! I'm reading a book about the Mayflower voyage (appropriately titled, Mayflower). It's not usually my topic of choice, though most non-fiction is appealing to me lately, I suppose, but my mom left it here for me because she didn't want to try to squeeze it in with all her other crap in the car on the way home. Anyway, I've been reading it in fits and starts while nursing, which explains why it's been a couple of weeks since I began it and I'm only 100 or so pages in... Anyhow, it's surprisingly good. Or I'm appallingly out of touch with what good is anymore, pleased to just have the time to read something not related to child development... Anyway, it's interesting. I didn't know, for instance, that the religious community that comprised half of the Mayflower's passengers, while English, actually were located in Leiden (in the Netherlands, that part I knew, just not the city...) before hopping on the ship for their trans-Atlantic journey. Of course, that city is only of interest to me, because I know someone who just spent some time living in that city (Hi, R!), so I understand if that factoid isn't of interest at all to anyone else...

And now, that is truly all I can think to say that doesn't directly involve the babies...

So on to baby news:

-The boys had their two month check a couple of weeks early, because they needed to be seen for follow-up on the reflux issue. J.ack seems to be doing okay on th Zan.tac, but Henr.y will be doing a trial of the Pr.evacid, in spite of it's ridiculously high cost. We just have to try something else, in hopes that it works. I really like their pediatrician, but I'm beginning to wonder if there might not be an allergy or food sensitivity at play here as well, because in addition to his strictly-reflux-esque symptoms, he also projectile vomits and has extremely painful gas/bowel movements. Sigh. How I wish he could talk and tell me what the problem is...

-They got their two month shots today, even though they are just a hair under seven weeks old. I was a little concerned about the number of shots given in one day, especially because they are on the small side for their age and they are also 2-3 weeks younger than the schedule accounts for. But, both babies seem fine for now. A little sleepier than usual, but after our night last night, it could be just because they didn't sleep so well.

-Speaking of sleeping, our night routine generally works out okay for us, but their daytime nap schedule SUCKS. I have a couple of different books that address infant care/sleep patterns (No-Cry Sleep Solution, Dr. Sears, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Twins, Happiest Baby On The Block, Babywise, etc.), and they run the gamut from 'You Are A Selfish Turd Because You Want To Sleep And You Should Never Have Had Children In The First Place If You Weren't Prepared To Constantly, Endlessly Put Their Needs Before Your Own For The Rest Of Your Life' to 'You Are A Pansy-Ass Who Is Turning Your Child Into A Wimp By Coddling Them With All Your Pansy-Ass Attention'. And frankly, neither of those approaches seems right for us.

Pre-birth, I would have firmly placed myself in the Cry-It-Out camp. Logically, that method makes the most sense-- help your child by allowing them to learn the skills to sort it out themselves. Help them become emotionally healthy by learning a little self-reliance. And I know plenty of healthy, happy, calm, well-attached children whose parents used the cry-and-check methods to sleep-train them. It works beautifully for plenty of people.

Naturally, as with all things, you kind of have to live it before you know what will seem right for you. Pre-birth, I would have considered myself a million miles away from attachment parenting. And I'm not anywhere near that now (I'd be curious how one would manage to successfully by-the-book attachment parent twins...), but I find that I have the strongest gutteral reactions to methods that sounded so right, pre-birth. I read some of these methods, and every cell in my body screams about how wrong it seems for us. For instance, the book that so generously allows a newborn one whole week of on-demand feeding, before expecting that wussy little crybaby grow the eff up and eat on a schedule already? As I said, that may work beautifully for many people, but it doesn't feel right for me.

And then, there's the book that relied on outdated studies that indicate all the DEATH you invite by co-sleeping (what with all the thousands of years of people co-sleeping, it's a wonder our species survived at all if you believe the studies they cited for their statistics). Not to mention, of course, the whiny, clingy, emotionally-stunted, non-independent children you create by allowing co-sleeping. Granted, I was equally as put off by the notion in one book claiming that fathers can't co-sleep with their children because only the precious, sacrosanct Mommy has the "instinct" to keep her from smothering her child. It may be that mothers are some percentage more "in tune" with their babies, but ANY human capable of keeping themselves from rolling out of bed at night who has the slightest interest in the welfare of the child can keep himself in tune enough to protect a baby overnight.

So yeah. Point is, you don't know what will work for you until you live it. I can't say I'm strictly in one camp or the other. I know that instinctually, it feels right to me to co-sleep with the babies. It feels right to breastfeed as long as the relationship works for us. It feels right to keep the babies close as often as is feasible. It feels right to foster dependence (I think shinejil wrote about it before, but seriously. What's so great about independence? They're BABIES. They're supposed to need you. I waited a long time and went through some very unpleasant things to bring these babies into the world, and I'm supposed to convince them to act like tiny adults from birth? Just doesn't jive with me somehow.).

Anyway, my advice here is for anyone considering becoming a parent to withold judgement on these methods until you are in possession of a baby. Read them, research them, etc., but try to not judge until you are living it. And don't let anyone else tell you how things should or shouldn't be. If it doesn't seem right to you to breastfeed for three years, don't let your hippie-friend make you feel guilty for giving up earlier than that. And don't let your aunt/grandma/MIL/whomever convince you that extended screaming is "good" for your baby, if that doesn't seem right to you.

Anyway, it seems the boys are moving on from the "sleepy" post-immunization phase to the "fussy" post-immunization phase, so I should wrap this up. Any books I should not miss that might be good for reading in bits and pieces? Any advice for laying the foundation for a decent naptime routine?


Tracy said...

I think your advice is spot-on. While I say we followed Babywise, truth is, it was a modified version that I could stomach, and I was more likely to adhere to it with Rowan, who was the epitamy of health as apposed to Evan who screamed from reflux. Scott would insist I was coddling him, to which I would say, "but he's my BABY. I'm supposed to BABY him." By the way, he had strict reflux and he projectile vomited as well. I always suspected some kind of allergy, but it worked itself out and he outgrew it eventually. Our doctor said projectile vomiting WAS a symptom of reflux, for what it's worth.

It is hard, but the good news is that it gets infinitely easier. I can't believe how much easier. Life is good now. Once you get past 18 months, it's amazingly easier. So you just hang in there.

Ellen K. said...

Kate, you KNOW I'm with you on harboring not-so-secret SET thoughts. I thought about it, um, less than 1 hour ago while realizing that I was going to have a third day in a row of someone skipping the afternoon nap.

I am LOL at the paraphrased sleep philosophies. We eventually followed Ferber. There was a recent humorous essay about sleep training on Salon, and the author wrote that the only thing the Beds and the Cribs agree on is that YOU'RE doing it all wrong.

One of my friends is a Mayflower descendant. That's pretty cool. She enjoyed that book.

the Babychaser: said...

Your description of the sleep books totally cracked me up. Laughing my ass off in my office while pumping, if you need the exact image.

Your best bet at this age, IMHO, is to take the ideas from the Elizabeth Pantley book and just integrate them when you can. We set goals and priorities at about 3 months when I read the books (e.g. 1st priority was going down to one nighttime feeding, second was to have them sleeping in their cribs, third was to have them FALL asleep in the cribs, fourth was to have them sleep w/o the binkies). But no need to get all stressed out about "success" right now. They're babies, for god's sake! (BTW, I also was sure I would be a Ferber mommy. Now I'm not so sure...)

VA Blondie said...

I also read a lot about sleep, and then threw most of it out the window as I learn about what works for my baby. You should really check out She has a lot of sensible things to say about sleep and child development. After reading what she had to say, I am a lot more relaxed about it, unless I am extremely sleep deprived. Then I am miserable.

As for what finally worked for me for naps was laying down with my little one, nursing him to sleep and then slipping away. I keep some white noise playing while he sleeps, and work quietly in the same room. I have no clue how that would work with twins, though.

Totally hear you on working out. After I started working out again, I felt so much better!

Shinejil said...

Yeah, there's a lot of witchdoctory out there in the realm of infant sleep. It's all folklore with very, very rare exceptions (i.e. James McKenna has done actually studies of mother-infant sleep dynamics) and thus should be taken as such: if helpful, use it; if distressing, move on.

No one, to my knowledge, has ever, ever connected infant sleep (or lack thereof) and later adult sleep problems. So don't let those darn experts get you worried. They just sell books; they don't have to comfort your boys.

I bet getting the reflex soothed will help on the nap front, too.

Interestingly, Bruiser at 9 mos has started to sleep differently, deeper, longer, more independently. We're ready to risk a few nights of tears and get him into a crib.

Cosleeping worked for us, up until now, for two reasons: my sanity (I wake up at 3 and I'm up until 6 and useless for the next day at least; w/ him next to me, I barely wake and thus get more rest) and his eating (he went from 5 lbs to 20 in six months. You get the picture :)).

Kids sleep how they sleep. Do whatever you need to do to survive, including the dread CIO.

Keep running! I've gotten back into running of late, and I love it, too! I'm so proud of you, to be back in the saddle so soon. You rock!

Shinejil said...

Er, I meant "reflux." And just to give you a baseline to compare, Bruiser is 10 mos today. Most folks I know who sleep trained (and they are amazing moms) started at 4 months. There's a neurological shift then (and then again at 9 mos) and it can make all the difference.

Okay, I'm going to shut up now.

luxzia said...

Non-baby friend here - talk about babies or not babies. I still read. Poor baby H there... hopefully the digestive upsets will get better soon! said...

Word to your last three paragraphs :)

You're doing an awesome!! Woot for running! Woot for you time! Alone time! WOOOO!!!

I co-slept with my daughter for 8 months, then let her cry it out. It's been fine. It took me a while to figure out a nap schedule with her but when we did, it worked out beautifully.

Alexicographer said...

Honestly I forget how we managed naps, though I think it was a variation of bedtime. By 2 months, lots of people (me, DH, my mom, our childcare provider) were regularly putting DS down for naps and I'm sure there was some variation.

I can tell you that for nighttime, DS never went to sleep alone for the first year of his life. We had his bassinet/crib in our room and I'd take him in and rock/swing him in my arms while singing made up songs and then put him in his bed and lie down in mine (we did do some co-sleeping but that generally happened at naps or after a mid-night feeding). And. I'd talk to him, or pick him up if he got really fussy, or not pick him up if he got really fussy -- I totally played it by ear. As he got older (say 6 months +) he had toys (e.g. cloth books) he could hold/examine/chew while I was in my bed (often reading). Honestly it was (mostly) a wonderful time and a way for me to get a break while DH managed post-dinner cleanup or whatever. And while I certainly have no evidence that there is cause-and-effect he is a champion sleeper. We also didn't keep the house quiet (or try to) while he was sleeping (with some exceptions especially as naptime was drawing near its end if I wanted him to stay asleep) and he does now sleep through about anything -- again, that could be just luck of course.

Plus, I have no idea how the twin thing would affect this.

And, I'm sorry, I do hear you on the ESET thing and there are plenty of studies (e.g. depression levels of moms) to back up what you're saying. What a difficult situation in which to find yourself and thank goodness you do have good support.

Samantha said...

I have no real good advice. When my son was that age, I had no control over his sleeping or napping, but I do remember at around 3-4 months his napping started to get into a routine. Nighttime sleep went really well, then got a lot worse until around 9 months, when things suddenly changed again. With one baby, I was basically following baby-led schedule and just dealing with general exhaustion. Around 9 months, I tried more of a Ferber method and it was great for both of us. But I really couldn't have done it earlier.

Knowing that you have twins who are 7 weeks old, I realize that learning that sleep settles down in 9 months for a singleton isn't so helpful. But things WILL get better (and probably sooner than that).

Samantha said...

I have no real good advice. When my son was that age, I had no control over his sleeping or napping, but I do remember at around 3-4 months his napping started to get into a routine. Nighttime sleep went really well, then got a lot worse until around 9 months, when things suddenly changed again. With one baby, I was basically following baby-led schedule and just dealing with general exhaustion. Around 9 months, I tried more of a Ferber method and it was great for both of us. But I really couldn't have done it earlier.

Knowing that you have twins who are 7 weeks old, I realize that learning that sleep settles down in 9 months for a singleton isn't so helpful. But things WILL get better (and probably sooner than that).

addingtothepack said...

I am so glad you were able to get out and go running. I hope it helps to maintain your sanity.

Katherine said...

During the early months, I would use the stroller or car to get my kids to sleep. Once the baby feel asleep, I could just bring the carseat/stroller into the house. Not everyone is a huge fan of doing this, because it is a habit you have to break later. But I was totally up for whatever worked at the time. And it became a really nice routine for me. With both kids, I was able to transition to the crib for naps.

I hope that the prevacid helps with the reflux. I hated the helpless feeling I would get when nuturing wasn't enough. There are a lot of online articles talking about the emotional impact of raising colic/reflux babies. For me, reflux is one of those weird issues where it isn't an abnormal or major problem, but people probably need more support than they get.

Star said...

What has worked for me on sleep is to be laid back about it and just do what works and helps everyone get the most sleep. I know one mother who is a "sleep nazi" -- won't stay out with the kids past 6 p.m. EVER, bedtimes are followed to the letter, thinks that if they don't do their Ferber or Weissbluth or whatever it is at 6 months old on the dot the kids won't be able to sleep for the rest of his life, and I'm like, seriously? My theory was, if I facilitate sleep being a pleasant thing to do (i.e. don't create bad associations by refusing them comfort), my kids won't have trouble sleeping. That has worked so far -- my 3 yo sleeps great and almost never tries to delay going to bed. My 1yo is still cosleeping with the crib sidecar on our bed. It works for us. I could probably put him in another room, but then if he woke up I would have to get up, and I sleep better (as does he) if I can just reach over, stick him on the boob, and go back to sleep.

That having been said, I've never dealt with twins, nor with a baby who was a "bad sleeper" ... though maybe my standards are looser than others', as Bird was fed every 2 hours for the first few months of his life and my mom was like, he's not STTN yet? And I was like, no, and that's fine. I got so sick of that ridiculous STTN question. In my opinion it reflects a lack of understanding of infant sleep patterns, but then I am on the Dr. Sears side of the equation so there you are. I knew before we had any kids that CIO would never happen in our house. Which is not to say that a baby has never fussed for 5 minutes before falling asleep, but none would ever scream for more than that either. Just not something I was ever going to do.

Naps: my experience was that they don't happen on any kind of schedule until 3 months or older. Again, I just did what worked. So, bouncy seat, swing, boppy pillow on my lap, whatever. Bird went into his crib for naps at 3 months ... Sweet Baby still naps in his swing. As long as they are getting enough sleep I just can't be bothered to stress myself out about "addictions" and "forming lifelong habits" and blah blah blah. Babies are more adaptable than we give them credit for.

About it being hard: I don't know from hard having only had singletons, BUT I do know that you've made it through the hardest part already and that you are doing a great job! This first year will fly by, and you'll forget the rough spots and remember the joy. Hang in there!

Leslie said...

I read the book "12 Hours Sleep by 12 Weeks Old" which I bought in a sleep-deprived state while wandering the mall with my then 5-week old b/g twins. My situation is much different than yours, though in that I have a demanding career outside the home that I had to return to when my twins were 6 weeks old. By all means, if you can be flexible, be flexible. I really liked the book, though, FWIW. It seemed to be Ferberish, which I could live with. The nap thing didn't sort itself out until the twins were 5ish months old. My daughter slept through the night from 7 weeks though my son routinely woke once or twice a night until he was 4 months old. No reflux issues, but we were on the Cadillac of formulas. Things for me got remarkably better after 12 weeks and then remarkably better again at 6 months. I am not one of those moms whose in love with the infant stage so your experience may be different. Hang in there. It is grueling. It is wonderful.


jill said...

Woohoo! I'm cheering you on for getting out there for a run! 11:35 per mile is great - just think of all your body has been through since last Sept.

Rachel said...

I am glad that you are using your precious free time to read history books. There is a plaque commemorating said pilgrims and some local site they lived directly across from the store where I found overalls and t-shirts for your guys.

While I hope never to face the attachment-parenting-twins dilemma, I am wondering how to attachment parent two while finishing a dissertation ... The truth is that parenting books should give you tools, and you figure out whatever works for you from those tools.

Sue said...

I don't think my kid settled into a reliable nap routine until after three months. Babies lack self-soothing skills until around that age and I was completely unsuccessful at getting mine to nap and GIVE ME A MUCH NEEDED BREAK. And that was only with one, so I really feel for you with two. When they get a little older you'll figure out what works best for all of you, and until then, try to take care of yourself. My kid is a napping champ now, something I would never have believed possible from weeks 6-12.

Amanda said...

You're so right with your info. What works for one, won't always work for the other as far as techniques go.

It took me so long to get the boys on a good nap schedule. I'm talking many months here. As a matter of fact, it may have been around 6 months that a schedule finally clicked (2-3-4 hours
here's a great link that helped me).

The first 6 months were so rough...omg so rough. And my kids didn't even have reflux! Now it's gotten easier.

I love my boys more than life itself, but I am very open and honest about the fact that I'd be crazy to wish for twins ever again (I grew up wishing for triplets). If I could be guaranteed I'd get the exact same babies, I'd have them as singletons instead. I miss the fact that I was never able to rock my boys to sleep and just hold them because there was always another one to tend to. I'm happy with my life, but I still think about what it could have been like.

You're doing a great job and your boys are BEAUTIFUL! It gets easier and the time flies (no matter what your brain says when they've been crying for over an hour straight and you just want them to take a nap)..

Me said...

YAY FOR RUNNING!!!!! If you are running 11 min/mile, then we might be able to run together if you come home for xmas. I'm trying to get faster, but I really suck at speed. Of course, it could be because it's a million and one degrees outside.