Friday, June 25, 2010

So Much To Say

Phew. It's been awhile, hasn't it?
There is so much going on and it's been incredibly busy. I've had 4 or 5 posts that I've meant to sit down and write, but I just haven't found the time.

I'd love to tell you that life with these two wonderful babies is all rainbows and unicorns shooting out of my ass, but then I wouldn't be being honest with you, now would I? And as much as my blog scares you, I know you like the honesty.

Bullets it is.

  • The boys turned 5 months old this week! How did that happen? How are we still alive??
  • They are doing new things almost everyday and it's so much fun to watch them grow and thrive.
  • I always mean to write on of those "Dear Sons" every month and I just never find the time. I know I'm going to regret that. It sucks.
  • We braved the NYC subway with a double stroller and twins. It took us a 10 minute walk to the subway station with elevators, 2 elevators, 1 crosstown subway, 2 more elevators, 1 uptown subway, 2 more elevators and then a 15 minute walk up Central Park West to the park location. Our local twins club was holding their summer twins picnic and it was a lot of fun to meet all the other twin families. It did make us feel inadequate about the size of our boys when we saw other 5 month old twins and we were envious of all the fancy new strollers, but that's life. Our boys are growing and our $800 stroller was bought used for $100. Everyone is growing just fine and we are $700 richer.
  • We decided to walk home 3.5 miles rather than go through mass transit again. We are not going to Central Park until the boys can walk on their own! There are plenty of parks downtown within nice walking distance and you'll find us frequenting those for the next two years!
  • I've already started selling so much of our baby crap and clothes. Made myself a nice profit so far of almost $200. Loving that. And loving the free space to make room for a new stage of baby crap!
  • Chicken started back to work and her first assignment was in Chicago! Yes, her new 'non-traveling' job. I had my first all alone all-nighter and let me tell you it was hell. We all survived but I'm not really sure how.
  • We thought by now it would be getting easier and it is...sort of.
  • The boys are elusive sleepers. Getting them to sleep is taking up half of our day and hours of our nights.
  • Naps are HELL.
  • Getting them down for a nap takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes. When we do get them down they cat nap. Every once in awhile they will give us an hour stretch, but it's rare. Doing this 3-4 times a day takes up a lot of your energy.
  • Because getting them down is so difficult, it means it's harder than ever for me to pump. As we've increased their intake, the pressure for me to make 2 bottles a day is huge and if I don't get all of the pumping in, I can't keep up. The milk pills are really helping, thank god. But there are times, I have to miss pumping because baby wrangling is never ending.
  • We still have had exactly (3) times they have slept in a five hour stretch during the night.
  • That means for the last 5 months we have been operating in serious sleep deprivation mode.
  • The good news is that from about 3 months on, once they are down for the night there is minimal fussing whereas we used to be up every couple of hours dealing with the fuss for well over an hour. This really helps.
  • Until this past week. When the middle of the night fussing began and caused me to want to kill myself. No reverting! Cannot revert!
  • We have tried every method out there to get them to sleep. None of these kind and gentle baby-to-sleep methods are working on our kids.
  • Sleep Begets Sleep
  • If you know this phrase you are dealing with a sleep issue yourself.
  • If you do not know this phrase or who Weissbluth or what Ferberizing is....well, you will have no idea what my life is really like! Unless you have dealt with a baby who simply Will.NOT.Go.To. Sleep, then it will be hard to relate.
  • We started sleep training this week. I've thought about whether or not to post those details because sleep training is a hot button topic in this community with a lot of "I would NEVER to that". I used to think the same thing. But rest assured, we have tried it ALL and at this point if something doesn't change and fast, our little family could fall apart. If mommies can't get some sleep and babies can't get some sleep we are all deprived and functioning at a sub par level. This isn't good for anyone.
  • Chicken has enormous pressure on her now to do well at this new job. She realized she won't get any work done working from home, so is working from a study near our apartment. We have been bickering quite a bit lately and we both know it's all due to lack of sleep and the feeling that nothing is ever going to change. So, with great sadness, we resorted to the last known sleep method we both swore we'd "Never" do.
  • Interesting, most twin moms I know have ended up doing sleep training as well. I think when you are dealing with two babies at the same time, the game is totally changed.
  • It's only been 3 nights, but it's working.
  • Naps....not so much. But bedtime? Yes!
  • We hired a nanny for the summer. We could either get a two bedroom apartment or a nanny. I feel like such a wuss admitting that, but with the napping issue I just can't do this by myself. Cannot Cannot Cannot.
  • She's young but with 10 years experience. We have a great deal in common and um....she's Latina and pretty damn easy on the eyes. Plus, I'm learning some more Spanish. And she lives across the street and has lots of twin experience. We scored. Chicken keeps asking me if I'm going to pull a Jude Law. I am not. She loves the boys and is SO good with them, but even with all her experience, she cannot handle the two of them alone getting them to sleep.
  • Believe me when I tell you these boys are so hard. Even in Argentina their Nana admitted she'd never been around babies like this. The nanny said the same thing. WTH?? I really think once we have these sleep issues sorted out life is going to change dramatically.
  • We are going out for the first time tonight. We have a wedding to go to and I have dreaded it...because I had no idea what to wear and I don't have any time to go shopping. So with great trepidation I tried on my collection of little black dresses and....they all fit!! Somehow, 5 months post birthing twins, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy size. It feels great!
  • My feet on the other hand, weren't so lucky and I had to make a call for back up shoe support. My friend Fab C, who is ALWAYS there for me, showed up with 2 pairs of shoes and a Guinness. Nice. Now I'm all set to get dressed up for the first time in well over a year!
  • Our CSA farm share started 3 weeks ago. Yum! Fresh, organic produce! Hard to find the time to figure out what to do with it all, but we are managing. Would hate for it to go to waste.
  • OK that's all I can think of now...I am going to post the sleep issues in a separate post because who knows, maybe there is someone else at the end of their rope and they are considering sleep training as well. If you hate me because of it, that's life. But unless you have twins and have had 4 hours of sleep a night for 5 months and spend up to 5 hours of your day just TRYING to get your baby/babies to sleep.....please hold judgement.


Strawberry said...

Just wanted to say, good for you with the sleep training. Sometimes it just has to be done. There is no way in hell, if Miles weren't a good sleeper, that I wouldn't have done it. So I hope this is a turning point for you all.

Jen said...

I agree with strawberry! Connor has had sleep issues, so I can't imagine dealing with 2 babies! I hate the people that say, "my child sleeps for 12 hours a night since 6weeks..." They suck. Thankfully, at the 6mo mark, something changed. Not sure if it is solid food or what, but he has done great the past 1.5 weeks. After his 6mo appt where my ped said no more night feedings, we had one rough night of crying for an hour between 3-4am and then it stopped. I hope you get some well needed rest and a nanny sounds great! Good luck puffer.

Amy said...

Your attitude about others' judgment is wonderful. That's true about so many parenting decisions. I have three singletons and Ferber-ized number 2 and 3. Didn't do it with number 1, only b/c he blessed us by being a great sleeper. My second two (now 9 and 6) don't seem to harbor any worse feeling toward me than the first one! Best of luck for all four of you getting much needed sleep!

Queerstork said...

I couldn't even fathom what sleep method out there would be controversial. Filling their bottle with liquid sedatives? Playing terrible new age music? (Now that's abuse!)

So I looked it up and all it is (in a nutshell) is "crying it out". Hell, do whatever works! Sleep is crucial and no one is in a position to judge. Lifelong trauma my ass - no one ever became a serial killer because they cried themselves to sleep.

Best news of all - this is all temporary. Good luck even prying them out of bed when they're teenagers! Keep up the good work, mommas! A full post on this sleep issue would, no doubt, help a lot of your fellow moms.

P.S. Hooray for a nanny! Double hooray for a hot nanny!!

AdventuresInBabyMaking said...

First, good call w/ the nanny over a 2 bedroom apt (hot nanny: even better). I can’t even begin to imagine anyone criticizing you over your sleep choices, and even if they do, eff ‘em.

Will Chicken have to go out of town regularly, or was that like a “welcome to the company/ training” kind of trip?

I’m looking forward to a detailed post about the sleeping... you know, just in case...

B and D said...

No judgement here! Naps suck around here too. Usually he will fall asleep in the car but driving around for two naps a day isn't going to happen so I am not sure what we will try next. I did want to ask if you have tried white noise. We downloaded ocean waves and rain onto the iPod (play through our sound dock) and it really helped with transitioning him to the crib for bed time. Just a thought :)

glamcookie said...

Yay for nanny! We are having pretty insane sleep issues as well and we just have the one. You do whatever works, Mama. Happy 5 months!

jessicaH. said...

I have heard of NYC services in which a person comes to your home at night and sleep trains the babies for you. A colleague of mine used one a couple of years ago. She also had twins. It was expensive, but quick.

cindyhoo2 said...

To begin: this post made me hyperventilate a little bit. :) But you are correct in your assumption that we all want the whole unvarnished truth about parenting. After I was able to stop breathing into the paperbag, I then told myself that OUR babies will not have the same issues yours do-- ha ha, I know this is the lie all mothers-to-be tell themselves.

But seriously, have you done any reading about babies with difficult temperaments? The sleep issues, easy irritation and comments from your nanny and others are suggesting this to me. I am attaching an easy to read one-pager about baby temperament. It is very optimistic so don't be afraid.

However, it sounds like you are making the choices you need to make to keep everyone safe and happy at your house. well done mamas!

poppycat said...

We had a panel of twin parents at my multiples class recently and abut half of them swore by the Furber method for sleep training. The ones who were using it said their kids had been sleeping in 8 - 12 hour streches since 4 or 5 months. Not sure if you have tried this yet but it sounds great to me! And anyone who passes judgement can go F themselves Puffer!

Sounds like life has been dealing some good and some bad lately but it sounds like things are about to undergo a transformation and hey, a hot latina nanny can't hurt!

I have some anxiety about what's going to happen when Cat has to start traveling again. At this point I choose not to think about it but it's going to happen someday. Yikes.

Sending love and sleep wishes to you darling.

RDR said...

We sleep trained and thought we wouldn't do it but we did and are so glad we did, it worked for our twins. Our life became so much more manageable for them and us. They had got use to a routine and everyone got sleep. No shame in your game Mama, good luck with the sleep training and make whatever choices are best for your boys, you and Chicken know them best!

Andrew and Brooks said...

Your post made me so sad for you! Being a mother is such hard shit and it can make you feel like you are failing all the time! But you aren't!!! From reading your blog (ie, not really knowing you) you have held up like an insane warrior! Many people would have given in the towel by now and just done what is easiest, not best for their kids!

1. DONT worry about the size of your boys. My Mom nursed 8 babies and her 4th baby always looked like he was starving, he was so thin. The Dr.'s wanted her to supplement, etc...She got comments from people, but she stuck to her guns and felt in her gut he was fine. They said he would be only about 5ft 9in when he grew up. Well at 22yrs. old he is 6ft 4in and all of 150pds! He is just a thin body type but is healthy as a horse and proved all the Dr.'s and worriers wrong. My son was born at 32 weeks because I got many of the complications you also had. He is now 18mnths old and only about 3% in wt and ht. Lots of people comment about how small he is, but when they learn he was a preemie and see how crazy active, fearless and able-bodied he is, all "negative" comments go right out the window. He is far more advanced then lots of his peers and I think it might because of his size. (ie, no extra fat, all muscle, so he was able to be more cordinated sooner) He still nurses and eats 3 solid meals a day and that hasn't changed his growth curve. He is just a very slow and steady grower.

2. Sleep training is the worst and best!!! I never thought I would have to sleep train b/c all my mom's babies "magically" slept thru the night by 8-10wks! HA, well I never planned on a preemie either! My theory is that preemies don't have the weight on them for so long that by the time they do, they are old enough to have learned (sometimes bad) habits. Because I only had 1 baby I didn't sleep train till almost 15mnths. By then I was seriously awful to be around and starting to resent my wasn't good! I couldn't just lay awake though not sleeping and hearing him cry. It was easier to hear him cry, nurse and both go to back to sleep. So, in the end I used our baby timer, and would myself wait 10min from when I heard him start crying. I would then go in, quietly say it was night-night time, flip him over to his belly and sit down on the floor, put my hand between the crib slats and rub/pat his back for about 5-10min not making any noise. Then I would leave and wait 15-20min and do it again. Then I would wait 25-30min the next time. It took 2hrs of crying for about 5-6nights before he slept 6:30pm till 5am. Each night though he started crying later and later, which showed me it was working. It helped me emotionally to sit and rub his back instead of just going in, saying "it's night-night time. you are fine, etc" The rubbing his back helped him calm down and get in a sleepy state and often he would remain quiet for 5-10min after I left before crying again, though usually not as hard as when he first woke up.

Your boys could possibly be teething too. I swear by Hylands Homeopathic teething tablets/gel. That helped us push through some of the crying as well!

I wish you the best of luck! Good call on the summer nanny!!! Between her and more sleep you will be able to enjoy the boys and Chicken more, which will make all the pain right now worth it!!!

Ruby at Breathedragon said...

Egads, Puffer, I can barely go through one day without a good night's sleep. Two nights without sleep and it's Meltdown City. I don't know how you're doing it! A good friend of mine is trying sleep training with her singleton and says it has changed their lives. I am all for it if it's helping. Those boys must sleep!!! WHATEVER WORKS.

I hope you are letting yourself off the hook a little bit with the breastfeeding, too, and feeling ok about the formula (echo the "whatever works" sentiment above).

You're a tough cookie, a trooper, and a model mama. Hang in there.

Inlocoparentis said...

It's funny how judgmental people can be, right? Honestly, one of the reasons I stopped blogging is that I worry a lot about what people think of me I just didn't have the energy to worry about people I don't even know. I had big plans for parenthood that included exclusive bf, cloth diapering, 100% organic homemade baby food, etc. Now at 6 months, we have never cloth diapered, I bf but by no means exclusively, and Christopher is enjoying baby food from a jar (mostly organic, but not completely). As for the sleeping, we are co-sleeping now but get plenty of judgment about that too, mainly from the parents who ferberized and now have babies that sleep through the night with a great routine as opposed to our "up every two hours" bed hog who is pretty much running us. The hardest part of all of this is that you can never be sure if you are doing the "right" thing - you just have to do what's best for your family!

Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

Oh Puffer, you are doing an amazing job, and I hear ya on the bickering as we were surely near the edge at 5 months and that was with only one non-sleeper. The little guy has always been pretty easy and sleeps through the night but the only way we can get the big guy to bed is if he is in OUR bed nursing throughout the night. I can't say that we don't sleep, because I barely remember waking up to nurse him anymore. Now that he is bigger he practically self-serves! I'd love to hear about how you are sleep training as we are nearing the end of this co-sleeping business. Hope whatever plan you have works and quickly!

Bridgwest said...

Hi there,
Thought I'd delurk to say we did 'controlled crying' as it is called here in Australia and it sounds very similar to sleep training. It's a controversial topic here too but it saved our daughter's family, and quite possibly, her life. No word of a lie I couldn't do it another minute - and she's a single baby, we were desperate beyond words when she was 11 weeks old. The most important part of this story is that IT WORKED for us, and quickly too.
Good on you for sharing your journey and for doing everything you can to keep your family together and safe.

Next in Line said...

I found the fifth month after traveling the most tiring. This was also when we started to organize sleep, try new things out, joined a research group on babies and sleep and now have a nap schedule. It isn't perfect, but definitely better. I hope you four get some more sleep soon.

How parents put babies to sleep is a big hot debate on the mama circuit. Just thinking about posting about sleep makes me cringe. I know half the people reading will think I am too harsh and the other half too soft! There is no winning sometimes. I know you and Chicken are awesome moms and are making excellent caring decisions for your family. I agree with Queerstork, other than drugging them and playing bad music, what ever you come up with that gets everyone some sleep has gotta be good.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

My motto is "whatever it takes to survive" and "all babies are different" oh and, "if you've never had twins and a fussypants baby, shut up - I don't want to hear it".

Even my MIL - "they need to just learn" - I told D today before the Christmas lunch "if she says ONE thing, I am going to tell her she can have them for two weeks to "train" "