Thursday, August 5, 2010

What A Strange Trip It Is...

So, I think I should revise my question regarding naps. At this age (7 weeks yesterday), should I expect them to be napping at all? They catnap on my lap after breast feeding, maybe 15-20 minutes, but there is not a single point during the day when they sleep for longer than 30 minutes, and they don't sleep anywhere but on me, or in my arms, and even that, they don't do very often. Which prompts the next question: at this age, is it unreasonable to expect to occasionally be able to put the boys in a chair or swing or on the bed next to me for a few minutes without stiff-bodied, full-rage, real-tears-flowing screams? I spent a lot of time babysitting (and a summer working at a day care center), and I just don't remember the children I cared for freaking out because they aren't being held. But maybe it's an age thing. Maybe I'm unreasonable to expect anything different. However, it is the exception, not the norm, that they are awake, alert and NOT screaming (unless they're eating).

All of that makes it sound like I'm miserable. And yeah. The constant hold-me-or-I'll-scream thing isn't fun at all, but truthfully, I think I take it all in stride. I like taking care of them, and I like that they are calmed by being close to me. I wish there was less screaming and more sleeping, but this is such a brief period in time (hopefully!), I can't really complain too much.

In news about the boys, they had measurements taken at their appointment earlier this week. Both boys are in the bottom 25% (Jac.k in the bottom 10th), which is weird considering that they were born at average weights/length. I think this is partially because they were measured at 6-ish weeks and compared on a two-month scale, so they were two to three weeks shy of where other babies would have been on that two month scale (if that makes sense...). However, at Book Babies last week, I was absolutely shocked at the size of many of the babies there. I mean, I know babies are supposed to be all roly-poly, squishy fat, but these babies looked crazy-huge to me. I was a giant baby, off the charts (I weighed 10 lbs 9 oz at birth) and I stayed that way throughout childhood. And I have pictures of myself at 7, 8, 9 months, and I look scrawny in relation to the comparably-aged babies we saw at Book Babies. So, are babies just really big now? Is that why my boys are considered so small, because at just shy of two months, they should already be well on their way to total lardassitude? FWIW, Hen.ry weighed in at 10 lb 2 oz, and Jac.k at 9 lb 3 oz, so a gain of over two lbs each since birth. I know some babies arev just smaller, but these boys just don't seem all that small.

The boys are starting to notice each other more, especially while nursing. They stare really hard at each other, like they're wondering who's encroaching on their boob territory. It's hilarious. And He.nry is especially handsy, and packs quite the whallop. He's got deadly aim, too, so when he's done beating the boob, I have to watch him carefully because he'll (accidentally, I hope!) smack J.ack in the face! Of course, Jac.k doesn't seem to care too much, only occasionally raising a hand in protest or grunting his disapproval. But then again, not much distracts Jac.k from his meal. The kid is serious about eating! also discovered his toes last night. He'd noticed them before, but last night, he bent himself in half while sitting on my lap in an effort to get his mouth around his toes! Such a weirdo... Oh, well. It entertained him for a good ten minutes or so!

Lastly, I am trying to convince H that we should drive back to Texas for Christmas this year. And I admit that I am daunted by the idea of driving that far, traveling that long, etc., but I really, really, really, REALLY want to go home for the holidays. Really. So, benefits of driving are that we can pack more stuff (and with twins, it seems that there is always the need for more stuff...), and there isn't the intense crazy stress of trying to navigate airports, or having to worry about having transportation once we get there. But driving takes forever (20-ish hours, pre-kids), and while there isn't the intense stress of air travel, there is the lingering, low-level stress of driving (and driving and driving and driving). Expense-wise, it's probably about the same to pay for two plane tickets and baggage fees (compared to gas and two nights hotel each way), but if we were to rent a car while home, that's another major expense to consider. I don't know. For those who have traveled with infants (especially twins, but I welcome any advice!), would you drive or fly? Or am I crazy to even consider making the trip at all? They will be about six months old in December, if that matters.

Sigh. It's such a trip sometimes being a mother. Surreal, I think. It's weird knowing in advance how very different life will be once you have babies, but having no real idea exactly how different every aspect of life is until you're in the middle of it. Sigh.


Leslie said...

About the holding thing...that was my daughter; my son (her twin) was totally chill and would sit in a bouncy, but not my daughter. She had to be held for awhile. Surprisingly, now (at 3 1/2) she is the much more independent of my twins. Travel: we flew from MI to FL when the twins were 4 months. I shipped the twins clothes, food, bath stuff, everything that I could think of and then also shipped it home.

You're doing great!

Anonymous said...

What no pictures?!? Humph :-P

The boys do sound a little, umm, clingy to me, but every kid's different, etc. So this may just be them, ya know. We used the bouncer from day 1 with A and he's still much calmer in it then B who was in the NICU for 18 days so missed out. Just keep trying for a few minutes. One day it will click.

For the weights they sound fine. It's probably because they were measured early. I checked versus my growth chart and I put H closer to 40% & J more like 25%. If your doctor didn't give you copies, I'd print some out myself- infant boys (and infant girls for anyone else).

You read and commented on my posts about our April trip with the boys @ 5.5months. Doable but tough on driving days. But we're thinking about doing it again in October. Though our trip is half as long as yours and still took 2 days of driving each way. Sorry not much help.

Serah B. said...

I have done both plane travel and cross-country drives. Both had their challenges. With one baby, I think I would prefer to fly, but when I'm traveling with both of my kids, I hate dealing with airports and all the luggage juggling and security and so on. I also enjoy roadtrips, and other than a brief period when Ro was about 4 months, both kids as babies were great in the car.

Neither of my kids ever slept at all without being held.

Tracy said...

I don't know what to tell you about the holding hearing some of the stories you and my other friends with twins have about sleep, I'm becoming more and more convinced that we have been very lucky with E&R. I'm sorry. Just hang in there.

I will tell you that I was reading up on melatonin yesterday because Scott's been having a lot of sleep issues, and I read that babies don't start producing appropriate levels of melatonin until about 3 months, so expecting too much before then may be futile. The best advice I can offer is to *try* and get into some workable routine for your own sanity's sake if nothing else.

You know we have traveled a lot, and we have not yet flown. We have taken a 10-hour, 15-hour, and 12-hour trip with the kids, several times each. I much prefer to drive, but I think Scott would rather fly. That is influenced by his feelings about driving long distances even pre-baby. If you and H don't mind driving long distances, then that seems the way to go given ALL THE CRAP you need to take, not to mention the other things like having to rent a car, infant seats, stroller, blah blah blah ad nauseum. You will have to make more stops at that age, but there's lots you can do to make it easier, and if that's what you decide, I've got lots of good tips/advice for you. :)

Baby toes are the best.

Rachel said...

Oh oh oh! Travel is something I can weigh in on. I'd say GO. But of course you know that. Six months is such a nice age to travel with: you don't have to pack too much food (or for us, any), they can't escape all that far, they'll still happily nap in their strollers or a sling. As for driving vs. flying my vote is for flying. It is SO much less total time in transit, and if either of the babies are teething/snotty/cranky that day, you will appreciate how short it is. I would certainly leave yourself plenty of time at the airport, but other than that I'd say fly. If you rent a car, choose an agency that will rent you car seats (for not too much money, a few agencies are exorbitant) and that will mean one less item to bring. Ask your mom to borrow pack 'n plays, and remember you can always do laundry in Texas. And of course that you will get oodles of presents. And definitely consider wasting $50 on shipping yourself dirty clothes/new presents home after Christmas. We do this quite frequently from NC rather than lug everything (of course, we also take public transport home when we land in NYC).

Of course, I will freely admit that I'm biased since the fusspot is so very rarely in her carseat that she really hates it. But my guess is that any baby by 6 months will need to get out and stretch quite a bit, and TX is just too far to drive to during naps only.

ps - As for naps, our pediatrician said that all that mattered was total sleep time. As long as they're getting enough (and it's a lot at that age), it doesn't matter if they get it all at night or during the day.

Alexicographer said...

If you're ever contemplating taking the boys to Texas I think doing it now is an excellent idea. We did several long trips with DS ... two r/t cross-country flights and one 10-hour drive (each way) in his first year and doing it before he was mobile made things so, so, so much easier than they are now.

I'm agnostic on the fly v. drive issue; each has disadvantages, and flying around the time of the holidays is likely to have more than at other times.

Ellen K. said...

I don't remember really trying to structure I & N's naps until they were a few months older than your boys, but they were able to sleep in their bouncers a lot. I think it's somewhat of an exercise in futility to expect much before age 4 months -- and we were on a schedule from day 1.

My girls are somewhere around 25-35% on the charts, I think; our ped thinks parents get too obsessive around numbers rather than the growth pattern. I agree. But when I see how BIG some kids are, I'm floored; last week the girls played with a 23-month-old boy who bore a strong resemblance to the Incredible Hulk, especially as he was wearing sweatpants.

We traveled about 6 hr by car, to a wedding, when the girls were 7 months old. Definitely the best time to travel. They slept well in the hotel room, they slept a lot in the car, they were very happy to be held by relatives, etc.

Samantha said...

I think the whole holding and nap thing is just age-related. You probably didn't care for 7-week old kids before. I remember my son HAD to be held and he sometimes never seemed to nap for very long either, unless I was walking with him. Not so restful for me! I know you've heard this too much, but 3-4 months, and things will get different.

As for weight, I would really not compare your 6 week old baby with 2-month growth charts. That's practically a quarter of their lives they haven't lived yet, and at this age, babies gain about 5-6 ounces per week. If you're worried about it, get a weight check at their two-month mark and then you'll have accurate numbers.

I think others have weighed in on the travel better than I can!

the Babychaser: said...

Oh my god, I am feeling so damn lucky right now! Our babies aren't the best of sleepers, but they never were the kind of clingy you're dealing with. (I have a friend with a singleton that was like that and he got a LOT better at about 2 months....)

Can I make another plug for "happiest baby on the block?" I know I should just get my ass in gear and mail my copy to you, but the odds of me getting my act together soon enough are slim. It's the most amazing DVD, and we used the method there to get them to sleep for the first few months. (Then they grew out of it.)

Their weights sound great, by the way. I wouldn't be concerned. And they're doing things my babies just started. (Seriously, G JUST found her feet this week. And D still hasn't.)

I'm so glad you're finding the energy to enjoy them, despite what they're putting you through. I think you are Mama Goddess Extraordinaire for being able to handle all of this. I'm in awe.

Star said...

I was just telling a friend of mine the other day that EVERY mother worries about her babies' weights -- whether they are on the upper end, the lower end, or in the middle, the grass always seems greener and those percentiles always somehow make us feel judged. Bird was always on the lower end of the percentiles, 15-25% for weight and 50% for height. Sweet Baby has always been around 40-50% on both. I honestly think that much of it is genetic, barring a true case of underfeeding, and it does not always correlate with the size of the parents -- my friend who had her daughter 4 days after I had Bird is the same size as me and her DH is the same size as mine, and their daughter was in the 90-95% for weight. Both EBF. I'm convinced that it's totally meaningless. Both of them are healthy and similarly sized now at age 3.

NC to TX ... that's tough. But I would probably elect to drive, if you have the luxury of time. I don't know, maybe not ... I just personally hate flying (because I'm afraid of it, and because it's public transportation). One of the times we flew with two, this woman sitting across from us was horribly rude when she saw we had a baby ("oh, no, there's a baby sitting across from us" loudly, as if I couldn't hear or as if I could do anything about it). I was fuming and upset about it for hours. People just are not always nice. Plus it is hard to breastfeed in airports -- not hard, but awkward, for me. So I would rather have the privacy of my own car. But that's just me. If the cost is the same, then just go with your comfort level. My experience with 6 month olds driving is that they sleep a lot, but do get restless after more than 6-8 hours in the car. But, they will tolerate it a LOT better then than when they are mobile. (Of course by then you can introduce the DVD player, if you intend to do that.)

On the clinginess ... neither of mine were to that level, but I have heard of countless babies who are, so I think it is age-related and it will get better. I'm sure you've tried everything, but a swing was helpful for us ... the motion lulls them to sleep sometimes even when they are inclined to fight it.

Hang in there -- you are doing great!

addingtothepack said...

I don't have much advice to offer on these parenting things (yet) but wanted to let you know that I am reading along.

As far as travel - it seems like 6 months and a southern winter seems like as good a time as any to try it. You don't have to worry about the boys getting as hot in the car and hopefully they will be pretty easy to wrangle at that age?