Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another Quick Video: Jack Plays

Jack Plays
Originally uploaded by k8izgr8
Just a quick video here from today. They have both started noticing hanging toys recently, and Ja.ck particularly likes the toy bar on his bouncy seat.

Henry has a case of the grumps today. Just can't seem to get it right with him. I guess that's the good part about having two-- I'm pretty sure it's nothing I've done to make him unhappy, since his brother is more or less fine. Henr.y's just in a mood today.

Ah, well. Here it is. Jac.k bounces while He.nry watches, and I narrate in that irritating sing-songy parentese voice.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I've had posts rolling around in my head for days, but lately, I've just been feeling pretty 'meh' about writing anything. The fall semester has begun, and H has gone back to work full-time, and I am tired. (Everyone say it with me now...) It's just plain hard caring for two at the same time, and I'm starting to feel a little burnt out. I'm doing what I can to break up the monotony (boys: wake up, nurse, snooze, nurse, snooze, etc.), but I just can't get anything done.

Henr.y had a trip to the doctor this last week due to a morning of gagging epispodes after he vomited up mucous, over and over again. The triage nurse, when determining if we were worthy of an appointment, asked me how often they eat. And I said every two hours (but it's frequently much more often than that), and she snarkily informed me that it takes at least 2.5 hrs for their stomachs to empty, so no WONDER they "spit up" all the time. Um, it may take that long for their stomachs to empty, but they obviously don't know or don't care about that fact. I try to stretch them as long as possible, but when your kid is screaming in hunger, after a while, you should probably feed them. They don't have a watch. They don't know whether it's been 2, or 4, or 10 hours. They just know when they're hungry, and for these guys, it's anywhere from one hour to three hours after they last ate.

So feh. I'm not sure what to do about it (and I'm not necessarily asking for advice about it either, though if you've got something novel to add that doesn't involve telling me to let them scream until hoarse because "it hasn't been long enough!" or "babies just *have* to cry sometimes!", then feel free to share.). I know what makes sense for me as a parent, and that is to respond to their needs, but unfortunately, for me, right now this means that my needs are going largely unmet.

Except, of couse, on the night-sleep front. They are starting to go for slightly longer stretches at night. We've started a routine of sorts in the evenings, and we try to get them into bed, asleep, between 7:00 and 8:00. And this is great because it affords us a little time to get some things done or to have a half-hour to ourselves. They generally wake up again between 11 and 12, and again around 3 or 4 and again around 6 or 7. So, we get a few long-ish stretches of sleep most nights (which is better than the sometimes once-an-hour nonsense they get stuck on... luckily that's not too often that this happens) but it's certainly not the same as sleeping through the night. I'm headed onto a year since I last had a good night's sleep with any regularity, and I'm starting to feel downright stupid.

Anyhow, I don't mean to say that WAH, WAH, WAH, MY LIFE SUCKS, etc., just to say that I'm tired and I feel like complaining which is why I haven't posted much in the last week.

Because life doesn't suck. The boys spent a good five minutes this morning staring at each other, trading smiles and coos back and forth. It was ridiculously cute. They are getting slightly easier, bit by bit. It's still incredibly hard, but they're starting to cry a little less, or to at least cry with more focus. I got a 3 minute shower the other day by putting them in bouncy chairs and popping my head out from behind the curtain ever ten seconds to say something silly to the boys
(they find the word 'poop!' to be hilarious. I guess the affection for potty humor starts early...). It's weird what amounts to a notable achievement these days.

So, yes. The boys are adorable and amazing as always. I am fine, if a bit tired/grouchy lately. And I think that brings us up to speed on the status quo.

And now, a request for advice: Anyone have any tips to share on dipping milk supply? As mentioned earlier, they pretty much eat round the clock during the day. I've been trying to watch my hydration levels and to eat a little better and to pump as I have time, but by the end of the day, just when they're hungriest, I seem to have nothing left to give. Before bed, I nurse them, then I feed them a 4 oz bottle of formula, and they slurp it down and then ask for more. And I usually give them another ounce or two of formula and then breast feed them again after that. Anyway, I can't say for sure that my supply is going down, but the eating-all-day-never-satisfied thing and then gobbling down formula seems to indicate that they aren't getting enough to fill them up. They are still gaining weight, but I lack the mental acuity at this point to calculate whether it's the 1/2 to 1 oz a day they're supposed to be gaining-- point being, it's not dire, but I definitely want to keep breast feeding them as close to full-time as possible for as long as possible, and the lagging supply seems to be counter to that goal.

Yeah. And you? How was your week?

Oh, what? You aren't leaving without seeing pictures of the cuteness?

Well, okay:
Kate and Jack and Henry
The boys (and the deep, dark recesses of my cleavage... nice shot, honey)

Smooshy Cheeks
Henr.y Smooshy Cheeks

Jack At The Park
Jack is getting big!

Henry At The Park

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Quick Video

Henry Splashes
Originally uploaded by k8izgr8
Henry has figured out how to splash! And I, apparently, have gone stupid in my overuse of the word 'splash'...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Zoo Review: Month Two

My Dear Jack, My Dear Henry:

Two months in, and we're all still breathing. It's a miracle, I think. I really wanted to start writing these sort of letters to the two of you much sooner, but someday, when you are parents (if you choose to become parents, that is), you will hopefully understand why it has taken this long to get around to it.

Let me go ahead and sum it up for you:
Month Zero:
You slept. You ate. You peed. You pooped. You cried. You were floppy.
We fell in love with you anyway.
Ten Minutes Old

Henry, you came out butt-first (someday you'll see that your first picture is not of your sweet face but of your little bottom being pulled out of my belly), and you didn't cry at all, for quite a while, but when you did cry, whoa, was it heart-rending.

Jack, you came out screeeeaming. And then you peed on the doctor. How prophetic.

Month one:
You slept a little less. You ate a little more. You peed and pooped more, too. You cried even more than that. And you were marginally less floppy.
Eat the bear!

There isn't much more I can remember about one month. Your grandmother was here, and I'm fairly certain that it is only because of her presence that we survived. Month one was hard. The crying, the screaming, the constant nursing... it is so very hard to figure out what you each wanted, which frustrated both of you to no end, since you were (are) both so very demanding about getting exactly what you want exactly when you want it (usually the "when" is sooner-than-now...).

But we loved you anyway.

So. I think that catches us up.

Month Two:
You still sleep a lot, though not yet in any sort of organized way. You still eat a lot, and poop and pee a lot, and cry a lot, too. And you're definitely less floppy than before!
We Are Two Months Old!

I'm trying hard these days to quit referring to you as "the babies" or "the boys". Yes, you are twins, but no, you are not the same! (though, oddly enough, the older you get, the more often I find myself noticing similarities)

Henry, these days, you don't cry so much as YELL. You have a voice and you aren't afraid to use it (you even yell in your sleep). You have so many different vocalizations that you employ for various circumstances-- I wish I could catch them on video, because I can't even begin to do justice to your "words" in print. You grunt-yell when we carry you in the car seat, you do this funky short punctuated 'EY! EY!' thing sometimes (sounds like the baby equivalent of an OY!). It cracks me up! You are almost never quiet, even when you sleep or eat. (Your grandmother called you and your brother 'pigs at the trough' when you nurse, because sometimes you both grunt, and smack and snort- it gets noisy sometimes!) You coo at us, lots of ohhhs and other vowel sounds. It's clear that you are trying to communicate something but most of the time, we're still pretty baffled about what it is. I really can't wait until you have real words to use.

But I'm kind of glad that you don't have words already at this point, because I get the idea that a fair amount of them might be, um, quite impolite! You do not hesitate to let us know when something displeases you. You just seem to feel injustices so keenly that I worry sometimes that this world will be too harsh for you. But, I also get the idea that this world doesn't know what it's in for-- your smiles are real heart melters! How could anyone resist such pure delight!?
Henry Sweetie

You wake up in the morning and you smile, smile, smile at me! You coo and half-giggle (you'll be laughing soon enough, I just know it) and mimic my facial expressions. It almost always makes up for the fact that you will spend the rest of the day refusing to be anywhere but in my (or Papa's) arms. And actually, by sheer chance, you've sort of become Papa's baby. You sleep in his arms, he tends to most of your needs, he carries you when we go out, etc. I think this initially started because you were so heavy at birth and it was easier for me to carry your brother. I sometimes worry that you might not be getting enough Mama-time, but then I think about the special relationship you and Papa have, and I know that's an important relationship, too.

In spite of some minor health issues (you have GERD, and you "spit-up" many, many times a day, you poor thing...), you are thriving. Your "two month" appointment came at six weeks, so your measurements at that time are nowhere near what they are now, I'm sure, but when I weigh you at home, you come in between 11.5 and 12 lbs! My little bruiser! And sorry to say so, Son, but you got your Papa's giant head! That's okay, though-- just more room to fill it up with amazing, wonderful thoughts! You recently learned how to kick your legs really hard, and when we gave you a bath last night, and you determined that kicking + water = BIG splash, I don't think you could have been happier! You actually looked a little disappointed this morning when you were in the bouncer seat kicking and there was no splash, but of course, you just kept kicking anyway, just for the joy of it. You are very handsy, too, batting at whatever happens to be nearest (usually me...), you "bear weightg" on your legs and you are already halfway to turning yourself over when you are on your tummy, pushing up and rocking side to side (in fairness, though, you *do* have that giant head to help you...).

Oh, and you do this thing with your fingers when you nurse, I can't quite describe it, like this patting/stroking/pinching thing, but however I'd describe it, it's so clear that you are comforted by being close to me, and that is such a wonderful feeling. My Henry, my nugget, my chunkachunk, my melon-head, my blue-eyed boy! My heart, it's just so full of love for you, Henry!

Oh, my Jack-Jack...
Much in the way that Henry has become a Papa's boy, YOU have become Mama's little one! No one can comfort you quite like I can. You cry in a way that breaks my heart, so pathetic and sad sometimes... until you get really angry, and then you SHREEEEEEEEIK! I want to record your cries sometimes so that I can play them back to you when you're older. My GOD, the lungs on you! Sometimes, you get going, and all I can do is laugh, because you sometimes (sorry to put it like this) sound like a squealing school girl.

In your "words", though, you are softer, and so much more precise than your brother. You are already showing the beginnings of some consonants ('na' and 'ba'), and sometimes when I talk to you, I swear you answer back! (Um, okay. Not really. Just that I will sometimes as if you want this or that, and you seem to so clearly say 'uhn-uh' or 'nooo'. It makes me laugh!) You tend to be very sensitive to your brother. When he makes noises, you almost always respond to him. Sometimes, it seems like you're telling him, 'BE QUIET!' and sometimes it seems that you're happily joining in with whatever noise he's making. And if he cries too long, you will almost always join in, even if you're otherwise content.

And really, generally, you *are* almost always otherwise content. Don't get me wrong-- you do your fair share of screaming because you also hate to be anywhere but in someone's arms (mine preferably), but you are a champion eater and a pretty good sleeper, too (in spite of the fact that you, also, have some issues with GERD... we go through the onesies like Kleenex around here!). Your likes and dislikes seem pretty clear most of the time. You like the swing. You love music, like the little player-things that come on the swings or clip on to the bassinet, though your favorite is when I make up stupid songs to entertain you. You really like looking at our headboard (you have a special smile just for the headboard, you weirdo). You take a little longer to wake up in the mornings, and usually you need a little snack before you're ready to take on the day, but once you're awake and alert, you smile, and bat your mile-long eyelashes at me (I swear if they get any longer, you're going to have trouble seeing through them!), and break your face into the hugest grin. I LOVE it. Those are my favorite moments of the day:
Jack Says Good Morning!

One of my favorite parts of motherhood has been sleeping with you and your brother snuggled up in our bed. Lately, in an effort to begin getting you both on a better schedule, we've been putting you to sleep in the bassinet next to our bed. And most of the time, you're content to stay there through the night (waking up to eat every couple of hours, of course!). But, your favorite way to fall asleep, though, is to nurse, and that means that when I try to lay you down with me in the bed, all you want to do is nurse! And that, in turn, means that we both sleep better with you in the bassinet, which breaks my heart a little, because I truly love having you next to me, seeing your sweet face, hearing you sigh in your sleep. Every now and then, you are content enough to sleep next to me for a while, and so now, those brief moments are even better because I know how special they are.

Much like your "words", your movements are so precise, too. You make these hand gestures that seem so grown up-- raising a finger when you want my attention, a stiff hand palm-out in front of you to let me know that you aren't ready to stop/start whatever. And your eyes are so expressive- I think you will be like me in that way, unable to hide your true thoughts because your eyes will always give you away. You are also on track with other milestones-- mini-pushups, rocking on your belly, bearing weight on your legs, but I think it might take you a little longer to fully do some movements because again, you are so precise that you seem to want to get it just right before you really give it a try.

You are my sunshine-boy, my peanut, my snort-snort Jacky-love. Mama loveslovesloves you always and always.

I can't wait to see what next month has in store for us, my sweet and special boys!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

This and That

-- I've been feeling increasingly pissy toward H lately and it is SO not-productive to feel this way. He shuts down the second he starts to feel criticized, which only serves to frustrate me further. I hate the "Pain Olympics" as you well know, but dammit! *I* have the harder job here, and I think that entitles me to ask for help as often as I need to. And when I don't get the help I need, I think it entitles me to DEMAND it as necessary. I know that he's sensitive, but I wouldn't need to be bossy if he would occasionally offer to help.

And now I feel shitty because he really, really, really, REALLY does a lot around the house and always has. He cleans, he irons, he does the dishes, he folds laundry, vacuums, etc. I don't do any of those things with any regularity (I occasionally do the dishes and I fold laundry about half the time), but then again, he's the compulsively tidy one in this relationship.

Anyhow, I guess I just feel that if I ask him to watch a baby, that means that he should, I don't know, INTERACT with the child. If I wanted to ignore whichever child, I could do that without his help, I think. It's pretty easy: Put baby in swing. Leave the room and go work on the computer.

So yeah. I do talk to him about it, but it gets so frustrating to ask for every single individual task, to have to be so specific when I ask him for help, and then to be told I'm being bossy or aggressive(!) by being so specific.

But enough about that. I have read your comments on the topic, and I know I'm not alone in this assessment of the state of things as a mother to young children. This too shall pass eventually (I hope).

-- I had a tiny, non-cancerous (we presume) tumor removed from my arm yesterday. It's been annoying the crap out of me for a couple of years, only because it's on the outside of my arm close to the elbow and it hurts like hell every time I bump it on something. It was inconvenient to have it done at this stage in the boys' lives when I really need to freely use both hands (and when my neck/back are seriously wonky and my wrists are still suffering from the Mother's Thumb thingy), but it really needed to be done, and I just couldn't squeeze it in last summer before the IVF cycle started.

It's weird to think about last summer. After we came back from Germany, I just happened to have my annual physical scheduled, and because of that, I ended up having several annual maintenance type appointments scheduled after that (optometry, dental stuff, dermatology, etc.), and all of those appointments were squeezed in before the start of my IVF cycle, so it's now a year later and time for the next round of annual exams (the thorough dental cleaning/exam, the eyes checked, the pap smeared, whatever). And so, with each office sending me the reminders to schedule appointments, I can't help but think what a completely different place I am in now as opposed to last year. Last year at this time, I didn't even know precisely why we weren't able to conceive, or whether or not the whole RE thing would work. And now? Instant 4-person family...

-- I've been thinking a lot lately about the whole woe-is-me, this-crap-is-hard schtick that I keep repeating (here and in my head and to anyone who asks). And the fact is, yes, it's hard, but it's going to be hard whether or not I'm sitting on my bed nursing for hours on end, or if I'm at the grocery store or if I'm in the kitchen with them, or in the play room, etc. My point being that I don't have to sit in this spot right here hating how hard things are-- I can hate how hard it is in many, many different locations! And somehow, that makes it less-hard, I think. This morning, I got up, got the boys dressed, plopped them in bouncy chairs in front of me in the playroom, and then described to them in detail the purpose of each piece of laundry as I folded it. And that lasted for about 30 minutes, during which time I only managed to fold half of the laundry because I had to keep stopping to bounce or tickle or peek-a-boo the babies to keep them from sobbing (though they eventually sobbed anyway...). But! I was NOT sitting on my bed with a nursing pillow on my lap! I was not cajoling a boy into non-sob status within a five-foot radius of my bed! I was in a whole different room, and that (somehow) helped. Yes, inevitably, we ended up back here nursing (what can I say? It's easier to nurse two of them in here, and then they fall asleep and who am I to wake them, so here we sit), but it somehow just occurred to me that if they are going to scream/cry/grouse anyway, we might as well all go do it in a place where *I* am comfortable and not-bored and able to get some things done, too.

-- Along with the whole Might-As-Well-Cry-In-The-Playroom idea, I decided I also need to quit complaining about not having local friends (though JJ, I am TOTALLY going to start hounding you for a meetup, as soon as we get just a bit more into a schedule so I know when during the day the boys are least-likely to melt down... And then the rest of you NC-ers better look out, too, because I'm going to demand another NC meetup very soon!) and start reaching out to some local groups. Book Babies is GREAT, but if you've ever been to a meetup, you know that there's lots of hand movement interaction and bouncing and baby-dancing, etc. and I cannot do that by myself with two babies (though I keep trying anyway-- this week, I'll try one in the Ergo, and one on my lap). So I need other kinds of interaction.

I thought I'd check out the local MoM group again, but featuring prominently on the About Us page of their website is the note saying that the motto of the national Mothers of Twins group is "Where God Chooses The Members". And if you know me and my situation, you know why that might rub me the wrong way.

I don't want to get too far down the religious debate path (especially where faith and ART science meet), but frankly, regardless of your personal beliefs, I'd argue that science has a fair bit more to do with a majority of multiple pregnancies these days (even if God moves the hand of the scientist, to say that God chooses who has multiples or not completely discounts the fact that the RE and the patient are the ones who create the circumstance by which the multiples occur). It makes me feel as though by promoting that motto so prominently, they are essentially showing some variation on that Asshole L&D Nurse's point of view of preferring "natural" twins. And that doesn't work for me.

And joining a group where members subscribe to the notion that God chose them to have multiples just doesn't work with my personal (lack of) religious beliefs anyway. I mean, even if I did subscribe to a particular faith, it couldn't be one of a puppet-maker god who had his or her hand touching all aspects all the time of every person's life. That aspect alone is philosophically divergent from my core beliefs, even if the belief in a god were part of those core beliefs.

So. It's not that I take issue with religion or belief in God, etc., just that I don't know that I want to be part of a group that attempts to appeal only to people who would agree that they were chosen by God to have a particular path in life when I feel very firmly that God did not have anything to do with finding myself on said path. Again, that's a perfectly valid belief for plenty of people, even those who pursue ARTs, but not for me.

-- I REALLY want to have Lasik done. I am so flippin' sick of wearing glasses. The boys are apparently sick of it too, if I correctly interpret the frequency with which they rip them from my face.

-- It's probably tacky to say so, but I find it hilarious that Henr.y has learned to lift his leg when he farts. Um, toots, that is. I was informed that babies don't fart, they toot. So yeah, he "toots" like a real boy. Frickin' hilarious.

-- Tara over at Turkey In My Oven always finds the coolest stuff on the internet. Like the fact that you can have the President send a birth greeting to your child. I totally did not know this! Even though I am not Obama's hugest fan, I think it would be cool to have the card for the section of their baby book where it asks you to write about what was going on in the world when they were born: Who was President when you were born? Um, THIS guy was and he sent me a card telling me how cool it is that I was born!

Um, I think that is enough for today. What's up in your world? (Oh, and I asked it over on Facebook, but if any of you have any tips for trimming baby fingernails, please chime in and let me know. I've already cut J.ack two times so that makes twice out of two times I have attempted to use the baby nail clippers so far...)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Well, now. That was an interesting few days...

(Pausing here to thank you all for your support and commiseration on my last post. Nice to know I'm not alone. And someday, I will actually use the offered phone numbers. I'm just atrocious on the phone, gripped by some horrid combination of shyness and stage-fright which seems to render me paralyzed and/or gripped with Tourettic outbursts... but yes. Thank you all for letting me know I'm not alone.)

Posting has been light here for the usual reasons (babies, two of them), but we have now added pulled shoulder muscle to the mix. Anyone want to wager how much fun it is to take care of two babies when it hurts to look up, down or too far to the left or right? Yeah. THAT MUCH FUN.

We had planned a brief overnight trip to Asheville for Sunday night, just a quick in and out to meet with two friends, but in light of the injury, we decided to cancel it. Which made me kind of sad but kind of relieved at the same time.

So. Anyone wanna guess what I was doing when I pulled the muscle? (No, not that, you gutter-minded freaks...) I was attempting to nurse J.ack while laying down. I was all angled and then I moved my body like this and my head like that and PRESTO. Screaming pain at 4:00 a.m.

Thus began day #2 of Ja.ck waking up at 4:00 a.m. and refusing to go back to sleep. See, when I actually managed to achieve the whole lying-down-nursing thing, Jac.k took this to mean HEY, LOOKIE THERE! We lay down, AND I get to eat?! Here this whole time I had been contentedly laying next to BOOOOBS and NOT eating, when I could, in fact, have been nursing non-stop. The half was not told unto me! We must make up for lost time!

And so that is how it has come to pass that Ja.ck has begun sleeping in his bassinet. He is literally driven to complete distraction by sleeping next to me. He will spend well over an hour, screaming, thrashing, crying, rooting, attempting to chew a hole in my shirt, until I relent and let him nurse. And he will then nurse all. night. long. Which wouldn't be a big deal, except that laying-down-nursing is still a contortionist act for me and I cannot sleep that way. And so, J.ack was moved to the bassinet. And along with him, Hen.ry was also ousted from the bed, but he usually comes back to our bed with H after the first feeding.

So, it's great that they are in their bassinet, because it means they go to bed earlier as was one of our goals (and as a bonus, I get to take the prescribed muscle relaxers without worrying about squashing a baby). There is no schedule, really, but we are beginning to move toward a nighttime routine, and that is good. But I miss having the little sugar-lump snuzzling next to me in bed. He's just so sweet and soft when he's asleep. He spends so much of the day wired with tension that it's enjoyable to see him so relaxed. I keep trying to bring him back to bed with us (after the muscle relaxer has worn off...), but only once or twice in the last week has he been sleepy enough to fall asleep without trying to chew a hole through the front of my shirt. Tenacious little guy.

Anyhow, they are officially two months old. I really have been intending to write a little something about each of them at these milestone ages, but you know-- it's hard and exhausting and when is there ever time for truly thoughtful prose? I will, I hope, but for now, they'll have to settle for the fact that I managed to take their picture on their two month "birthday":

We Are Two Months Old!
Precious Jac.k (l) and Wonderful Henr.y (r)

Oh, and as you can see from the picture below, H.enry has also discovered his toes. Unlike his brother, he has maintained his interest such that he gets very excited when I put his socks on or take them off (the toes! they disappeared! the toes! they reappeared!). I need to get some of those socks with the bells on the toes or the little rattle thingys. I think he'd really dig those...

And an extra of Ja.ck, just for good measure:
Jack at Two Months

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


So there was some good stuff and there was some bad stuff, but somehow, we find ourselves having survived to week 8, the age by which many people, from experts to my expert readers, agree that things should begin to get easier. And I suppose that is true. Some things have gotten somewhat easier. Some things seem largely the same ("Screeeeeeam. Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam!!!" says Henry...). And some things seem harder. Or perhaps just more tedious (see above re. screeeeeeam), I don't know. I do know that the highs are really high:

Henry Smiles!
God, he melts my heart sometimes.

Cutie Pies
I know it's seen through a mother's eyes, but I just think Jac.k is so pretty!

but the lows are maddeningly low. I feel like a broken fucking record (and I wouldn't blame any of you for rolling your eyes and clicking away) but, it's hard. Really, really hard. H does so much to help out around the house and he's very responsive when I tell him exactly what I need, and delightfully accomodating, but at the same time, I find myself getting really steamed because I feel like he's not helping enough. But when I try to quantify exactly what ways I feel short changed, I find that I can't really make heads or tails of it. And that is incredibly unfair to seethe about behavior that you can't/haven't asked to be corrected.

I just know that I about bit his everlovin' head off yesterday as I sat with one baby nursing, while cradling the other (screaming) baby in my arms on the other side of the nursing pillow, with my tray of crappy fast food alternately getting cold/warm/watery (the baked potato, Frosty and salad, respectively...), and (dramatic pause) the mothereffer had the audacity to reach across the screaming baby as he was casually working his way through his salad to PICK AT MY FRICKIN' FOOD. I'm starving, as I have been nursing all day, and I'm forced to pause three bites into my meal to unlatch a (screaming) baby and balance him on one arm while keeping the other happily latched and feeding so that he doesn't start screaming, too, and waiting, waiting, waiting patiently for my molasses husband to eat his fucking salad already. I didn't mean to snap, but I really, really tersely said, "Excuse me? I'm not even CLOSE to being done. I CAN'T eat. I've got my hands and boobs and laps full of BABIES." And he looked genuinely stung. And I didn't apologize, either, even though I did feel badly for not just calmly telling him that I needed him to take the baby so I could eat.

I keep finding myself wanting to scream, "Come the fuck on, Bridget!", and though plenty of people would take that well and laugh at the movie reference, my molasses husband would not. But that is what I find myself thinking more often than not.

Shuh. Knowing that there's still that shithead lurking out there, probably looking for any reason to cause me grief by further outing my blog writings, I should probably delete all of that. But in truth, I would gladly say most of this to H's face. I love him. I cherish him. And I know and fully recognize how much he really does and how hard this is for him. But it's hard for me, too. It's no easier for me to pour myself a glass of water while holding a (screaming) baby than it is for him, but it seems like an insurmountable task for him. I need to really stress here that he is incredibly accomodating-- he gladly agreed to watch the boys while I soaked in the bathtub last night-- but that "soak" turned into ten minutes of "relaxation" while both boys screamed their fool heads off, followed by several hours of H acting shell-shocked and completely depressed/overwhelmed by the experience of dealing with two babies in full-meltdown mode which meant several hours of me feeling like shit, and trying my hardest to cajole H into a better mood (which made me feel like a failure because it totally didn't work).

It just seems unfair to me, but it's also completely unfair to feel resentful toward him when I haven't even let him in on what, exactly, needs to be different to make me feel more supported, and that is mostly because I just don't know what I need myself.

I have no business writing about any of this right now. Today is proving to be a little rough. I'd love to write about it in more detail, but as it involves H's workplace tangentally, I really can't say what I want (though it's got nothing to do with any person or one person's decisions or behavior or whatnot, but rather with administrative policies that I think are stuuuuuuupid). So, I'll just say that H had to leave quite early this morning, and I'm not expecting him back until 6:00 p.m.-ish and I got up with (screaming) Jack at 4:00 a.m. and never went back to sleep (after getting up with him at 3:00 a.m., 1:30 a.m., midnight, etc.). The boys are screamy* (surprise) and I am tired and my back hurts and my fuse is short and all I can manage to do is to shove a boob back in their mouth and hope that 6:00 comes soon. I love these boys, but my GOD, I'm exhausted.


Yeah, I need to draw a line under that and move on. Happy eight weeks, J.ack and He.nry.

I've been twice now to our local Book Babies meeting, and while the first time wasn't all that great, the boys did seem to get something out of it, and so we went again this past Friday. And this time, I met a few moms who I actually could see myself enjoying meeting up with from time to time.

I feel like I may have sort-of found my tribe (maybe) and here is why:

Let me preface by saying that boy names are hard. HARD. It's actually why I suspected that I would have two boys, because I could think of thousands of awesome distinct, unique-without-being-weird, traditional, culturally-appropriate girl names, and it seemed like that would be something the universe would find amusing, to leave me with two boys for whom I cannot even begin to find appropriate names.

I knew when I chose J.ack and Hen.ry that these names were quite popular among a certain progressive-ish socioeconomic subset..., but that they were not generally popular names. The fact that the older generation and/or friends that fall outside of that subset would reply with a pinched smile, and a "oh, that's nice." when told of their names, told me that I was spot-on in my assesment that these names were not broadly popular. And, for the most part, this community where I live is full of those pinched-smile-that's-nice replies when the boys are introduced. Others (here's an example) provide a pinched smile because these names are so common as to be completely passe (possibly even gauche) by now among whatever group they fly in.

So. Brief side trip over-- the point being that this past Friday, prior to the start of Book Babies while waiting outside the meeting room, I was introducing Jac.k and Henr.y to 12-week old Stella, and Stella's mom commented on how very common the name He.nry had become (she is the first person to have mentioned this to me in person). And a few moments later, another new baby and mom pair came along and I introduced the boys and was recieved with, "Oh, another J.ack!" as she sweetly patted her boy's head. And as we walked in the room and gathered on the rug in the circle, I asked a particularly precocious 14-month old's mother on my right what precocious 14-month-old's name was-- "Hank," she says.

Yeah. So clearly, I've found the group among which these names are common, and that likely means I've found the group whose members obviously think somewhat similarly to me. Maybe, maybe not, but it's worth another trip to the library again next Friday to find out.


*"Babies at this age enjoy being held. Simply hold them close if they do not want to be put down," I am so helpfully told by my infant development book. Ah, YES! Why had I not thought of that myself?! I'll just HOLD THEM 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I'll just pull out that extra set of arms and HOLD THEM both. And then, I'll pull out that other set so I can manage the occasional snack or bathroom visit (or blog post... this post brought to you courtesy of the nursing pillow and two babies with nipples jammed down their throat...).

Oh, and yes. I have Happiest Babies, and the 5 Ss do work, but only after 20-30 minutes of "Shh"-ing and swaddling and swaying, etc., etc., and once the baby is quiet, the peace lasts for all of 2-3 minutes before the screaming starts again. And of course, meanwhile, Baby B isn't sitting patiently with his hands folded waiting his turn, but is rather losing his flippin' mind wondering why I'm ignoring him for so long. That doesn't mean I've stopped trying to get it to work, but rather that it's an awful lot of screaming to listen to in the mean time and I just wonder what the fuck is wrong with me or these babies or whatever that I cannot seem to calm them. It's maddening.

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!

Ja.ck 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.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Just Some Photos

Sleepy Henry
H.enry, my sleepy boy.

Jack Is Happy!
Sweet Ja.ck

Henry Is Awake!
Henr.y caught me!

Jack Smiles
What a smile!

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?