February 26, 2015

Six Things You Should Know Before You Have A Baby (at least I wish I had...)

You've found it! List #427 of what they should have told you before having a baby. I know, there are so many of these lists out there like this right now. I know there are some things you just can't know until it's happening to you but I do think there are some things other parents go through every day that they could be telling newbies about and they just don't. Maybe they don't think of it or maybe it's 'cuz misery loves company. I know when I'm talking to an expectant mom these things aren't even on my radar until I'm in the thick of it and I'm like ugh, rookie mistake!! It was a night like that when this post came to me. I feel like doing something good so I want to pass on some things I've learned over the last six months that I would have loved to know beforehand. If anyone can remember to use them when it's all so overwhelming then I'm happy to have helped just one mama or dad struggling.

Don't ever comment on how well baby is sleeping, eating, not crying, etc. Never! Not Ever!

You are seriously jinxing yourself. I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I made the statement "I can't believe she is sleeping so well" and she woke up within five minutes. I'd be a thousandaire. Or for every single time Dad calls to check in and I say we're having a great day with no issues only to have the afternoon be a nightmare of tears and screaming. I will never forget the time we told my cousin that they were sleeping 8 hours a night and had been for a few weeks. I wasn't worried about jinxing it, 'cuz they were good (ha!) and then that night they started waking up every hour. That. Night. Just don't do it to yourself. If things are going well, keep it to yourself. If you have to say something then say the opposite of what you mean and explain to others why it's perpetually opposite day in your house. Or start knocking on wood. No, nothing works actually. So just don't say anything at all! Babies? What babies?

When you have spent forever settling baby to sleep and you're positive they are finally out and you think you can leave - STOP AND STAY FIVE MORE MINUTES. 

Just five more minutes can make all difference in the life of a sleep-deprived parent. Even if you've been rocking her or patting her back and shushing her for an hour and she hasn't moved in ten minutes. Keep it up for five more minutes. I'm telling you it is so worth it. There is nothing more frustrating than spending forever getting baby to sleep only to have their eyes fly open the second you stand up or turn to leave. And if you're like me and are constantly having to "help" your babies to sleep you will notice it happens just about every time. You're sure they're off in dreamland, and they might be but if you just think about walking away baby is all, "Just kidding! Let's play or scream some more!" So just sit and wait that extra five minutes until they are really out, no question. Then work some mission impossible moves and get out of there without waking them. Which leads me to number three...

Weeks before baby arrives practice said moves and "wake-up proof" the crap out of your house. 

I know it's hard to tuck and roll when you're 35 weeks pregnant so leave that to hubby but do the route from crib to couch a few hundred times to learn the creaky spots. Mark the "safe" route with Xs if you have to unless you're like us and live in a 200 year old house where nowhere is safe. We have cursed out our wood floors more times than you could imagine. Also, take a trip down the hall in the dark at 3am and remove anything that you will bump into on the way to the kitchen or baby's room. There's nothing worse than stubbing your toe on your way to get a screaming baby while in a state of utter exhaustion. If you do nothing else at the very least WD-40 all doors within ear shot of baby's room. A squeaky door that you barely even hear right now will sound like nails on a chalkboard when you just spent an hour putting a baby to sleep.

You will spend an inconceivable amount of time changing diapers and dressing your baby. 

Jules is unimpressed with her missed snap
Yes, you can get fast at diaper changes but the universal truth is that most kids' clothes are ridiculously difficult to get on and off. To the point where you may find yourself saying "eff it, no one ever died from wearing just a diaper in winter, right?"  Cute clothes are the worst too so don't even think about buying them (don't worry, you'll get plenty from friends and family). There are so many snaps or buttons and you will always end up missing one and having to start over. What could take 2 minutes ends up taking half an hour and likely all your baby's "happy" time so now you're rushing around to feed a miserable starving baby and you don't even notice the poop on your shirt. And if you thought dressing a newborn was hard, holy hell just wait until you're snapping approximately eleventy billion snaps on the jammies of an overtired and squirmy 7 month old or cleaning up the explosive poop accident of a 2 year old. My advice: go out and buy some precious little outfits or super cute pajamas with snaps or buttons and try putting them on one of your teddy bears while someone bounces and twists it and pulls it away from you at warp speed. Make sure they contort it in ways you never thought humanly possible specifically while you're working on the crotch buttons. I believe this to be one of life's greatest challenges. On the other hand you could save yourself the time and frustration and just buy a lot of stretchy, pull-on or zip up clothes and pajamas. They're never the cutest of course (because beauty is pain?) but they're so worth it!

You will find a groove and everything will be great and then boom it will all fall apart again.

A typically happy baby will have some very miserable days. A great sleeper might wake up all night long for weeks at a time. And teething can turn any "good" baby into a biting, drooling, angry little monster. My sister actually did warn me about this but not until the girls were about 16 weeks old and had all of a sudden stopped sleeping longer at night. I was telling her how well it had been going and how frustrating it felt to be up all night again. She told me, "That's just how it is when they're your own. You find what works, baby figures it out too and everyone is happy. Then boom it all goes to hell and you're left scratching your head and starting at square one." It is normal. It's almost never you or something you did (or the shots or the food or whatever else may have changed). It's just par for the course of parenting - a healthy little a reality check for you, in case you were getting too confident. So, help yourself and your baby! Do some research on baby behavior and development. Learn about the mental leaps and check out the Wonder Weeks. Figure out what baby is really going through before you lose your mind. It really helps to understand that no matter what your baby is not actually insane!

It goes so freaking fast.

I know now that you cannot possibly comprehend this until you have kids of your own but I wish I had been more mindful of it from day one. They are only seven months old and I feel like it's been a lifetime and yet a second since the day they were born. I can't believe how big they are, what they can do, how fast it's all going. I really wish I had tried harder to enjoy all the moments, commiting as much as I could to memory, writing it all down and taking more pictures (despite having nearly 3,000 already). It's hard when you spend those first few weeks just trying to keep everyone alive but I'd give anything to see them one more time so small, to smell their fresh baby smell again and to be able to lay with them both on my chest and still be able to breathe. Seriously, it just flies by. Try to inhale, chronicle and most of all, enjoy, every second. Yes, even the miserable ones.

So for all the moms who just wish someone would have told you the real deal on things you could actually prepare for, pass this on. I know there's a lot of things I missed so you tell me, what do you wish someone had told you?


February 22, 2015

FIAO 7.2: Adventures in Sleep With Twins - The Month of No Sleep

I am hating my life right now.

No, my life isn't that bad. I don't hate all of my life. I hate my life during the hours of 8pm to 8am right now.

Whether it's a cognitive leap, teething, a growth spurt or what-ever-in-the-hell-ever my kids do not sleep. Correction: they do not sleep for longer than 45 minutes without me helping them back to sleep with the boob. Tonight we reviewed our BabyConnect app history and for the first time I realized that after six straight weeks of solid 7-8 hours (at least) a night they stopped sleeping through the night one week after I started exclusively nursing (vs. pumping and sometimes supplementing).

Coincidence? I am seriously wondering.

I don't need them to sleep through the night. I don't care that they're not. Really. I'm fine with getting six hours myself. But I do need them to pick one. They're either going to go to bed and sleep for a few hours straight before needing to feed a few times or they can stay up later and sleep after cluster feeding all evening. I can't have it both ways anymore.

We are discussing giving them a bottle (of pumped milk and formula) for their "last" feed (although that has NO meaning in our house right now as it is pretty much an all you can eat buffet from about 7pm on or death by screaming). I know when they're actually hungry so I'm worried that they're just using me to suck. They are waking up after 1 hour totally hungry despite nursing every time just before laying down. I don't mind it during the day, but if it keeps going at night, when they alternate and I cannot coordinate tandem feeds while getting any sleep myself (thanks tiny boobs), I feel like it's going to kill me. And they don't shift well either. Literally. If you lay one back down, the other stirs. In our bed, when we have to move one to be near me the other one will wake up.

They are also starting to wake each other with their cries. A month ago this was marathon feeding all night was easier as they always slept through all of this commotion. Now, after doing bedtime twice every night and not getting them down until 10 or 11 around 1 am A cries, feed A, sleep for 5 minutes, B cries, feed B, sleep for 2 minutes, A cries and so on and so forth from about until we get up at 8 or 9.

Mom confession I never thought I'd write - somedays, I lay in bed until 11 tandem feeding and playing with them while they drift back and forth into sleep. I'm sure that's helping, right? Seriously though, those are the only days and of us get any decent sleep despite all my efforts otherwise.

We follow their lead but we guide them in the right direction. That's our mantra. They have always gone "to bed" after a bedtime routine and nursing around 7/8 depending on naps and lately are almost always up within an hour. For the last few weeks up until a few days ago we would let them get up if they were not settled within 20 minutes because this was our cook/clean time and we just figured eff it they're up anyways. Not anymore. We are getting to be so over having babies up until 11:00 with us, even if they give us three or four hours after then. We just have no more us time and it's starting to wear on us.

So for three days now I have stuck to a strict sleep-eat-play schedule. They have taken semi-decent naps, gone down a little more easily and were going for longer stretches at night (3-4 hours instead of 1-2). We also instilled a new rule: no leaving the bedroom once they go down. It's been going well and then tonight Viv threw an epic shit-show an hour after bedtime instead of just nursing and going back to sleep like she had been. For two hours we alternated sitting in there holding her, patting her, nursing her, etc. I nursed her probably six times and we bounced, rubbed, shushed, burped, rocked, everything we could think of - we just didn't let her leave her room. Jules was up and down during this time too so we tandem fed in a folding chair in the dark in their room, a few times too- major super mom points there. If they weren't acting hungry I would just pat them and shush them but tonight they seemed ravenous. They finally fell asleep around midnight. I went to bed and, because why not, Jules was up at 2, Viv at 4 and the cycle of all night nursing began again.

I know they're growing. I know it's not their fault. I know I know I know. But it doesn't make it any easier. I'm feeling my first inklings of sleep deprivation and it's taking a toll on my mood, our house and our relationship. I always said I would never "sleep train" in the classical sense because I could never deny my child simply because it was inconvenient for me but as they get older it seems to be less about them having actual needs and more about just not wanting to sleep alone or, worse, needing me to put them to sleep. I get it, I do, but at the same time one of my biggest fears has always been that they will develop negative sleep associations and an inability to soothe themselves if I don't ever give them the chance. I know there's plenty of time for it, but what if it starts early? What if we miss our window and they end up like their mother and we are doing this forever?!

I have spent my entire life trying to learn how to fall and stay asleep and to no avail. I still struggle nightly with multiple wake-ups myself and god forbid CJ ever leave for a night I don't know what I'll do. My mother, with the best of intentions I'm sure, was my crutch for much of my life when it came to sleep, singing or talking to me, rubbing my arm or even just sitting with me until I fell asleep. She says she let me cry and I just never stopped so it was easier for them to just help me fall asleep. When I left home I had roommates or boyfriends to do it in her place. The few nights I have spent truly alone there was rarely any sleep to speak of unless I was drunk. I spent three years as a Nanny staying overnight a few nights a week and didn't sleep majority of them. I cannot stand the idea that actually being responsive to their needs could one day contribute to the same for them but I am really starting to wonder if that's what happened with me.

In a way, I feel like continuing the way we are going is going to do more harm than good, if only from my own personal experience. We were responsive 100% of the time through 7 months, literally never letting them cry unless we had to (I was in the bathroom or the other one needed us). I think we've established trust enough that they won't give up on me if I let them try to learn to fall asleep on their own around 8 months old. Right? Damn mommy guilt, I don't think it will ever go away.

So, we're going to try messing with their schedules some more and extending wake times. We will keep paying attention to their cues and hopefully establish some semblance of understanding that the night time is for rest. Like I said, I don't mind the middle of the night wake-ups to feed, it's a special time that I cherish with them, but if we could just limit it to one or two and maybe try giving mom and dad a few hours in the evening to themselves I would be over the moon!

Was your baby a tough sleeper or an easy one? What did you find worked for you?


February 19, 2015

I'm Still Alive and They Will Be Fine.

It was New Year's Eve last year. I received the best, most important, most profound piece of advice I would receive on my journey into motherhood. I was about 3 weeks pregnant, I had only known for 5 days and we were having lobster and prime rib for dinner to celebrate.

When CJ started cooking I immediately started thinking about the one thing I knew about being pregnant - you couldn't eat fish. No, it was that you had to avoid certain fish that contained high levels of mercury. Did lobster have mercury? I also knew meat must be cooked all the way through. But CJ says it will be awful if it's more than medium. Do I not eat it or make him cook my portion longer? It was almost time to eat and here I was terrified that eating the wrong thing could possibly harm my baby (I had NO idea there were two then) so I contemplated making a sandwich (ironically it would have been turkey which I later learned I probably should have avoided too).

Instead, I called my mom. I knew for a fact she ate lobster and red meat while pregnant. There's a picture of her enjoying a huge lobster two weeks before my sister was born. She told me I was fine, to eat my dinner and enjoy my New Year's Eve. She reminded me that the body does amazing things to protect the baby and the risks were pretty low and only from the meat so to just make sure it was cooked all the way through. And then she said the thing that became my mantra through my pregnancy:

"Maigen, I did it all when I was pregnant. I smoked, I drank, I ate meat and lobster, hell I even swore and you're still alive! He/She is going to be fine!"

She will kill me if she ever reads that I wrote all that but it immediately broke me out of the panic and worry I was feeling and put me at ease for at least the rest of the night.

Yes, she did all those things and while I'm no model citizen I am pretty awesome. And super smart. And not half bad looking either.  She wasn't a heavy smoker, she had a few beers once or twice, she definitely ate meat that wasn't "cooked all the way" as well as tons of tuna fish, clams and mussels. She didn't have ultrasounds or take prenatal vitamins for months before conceiving and every day after. It was 1984, she was 22 and the first of her friends to have a baby. Her life and pregnancy experiences were so vastly different from what mine were and I think she was the lucky one. She never once thought of the things I did and what do you know, I survived. Hell, two of us did. And only 14 months apart at that.

It's true that how we were raised was so much more important than what happened to us in those nine months, well 8.5 for me, 9.5 for my sister or we would have only been 12.5 months apart. I even came a few weeks early and, again, I'm pretty awesome. She raised me to be awesome. My mom and dad are amazing parents who worked their asses off to produce good, kind, thoughtful, respectful and smart humans, all while keeping us alive despite not knowing much of anything about kids. They did all this despite not having a clue, not taking the precautions we take, not flooding their minds daily with the what-ifs and how comes of baby books and the personal anecdotes of every person with an internet connection. That's my downfall, the constant connection to facebook, blogs and google. They make me second guess everything I do know and fill my head with things that I do not need to know. My parents had exactly one thing to help them, besides each other - their own parents. Sure, they had lots of family and friends for support but most of them didn't have children yet. Somehow, we survived. We thrived, even. We made it through things that new parents my age would never even consider. Most of which happened after I fought my way to be here two weeks early with over 18 hours of labor (so sorry mom). Red meat and lobster don't even scratch the surface of the "risky" things I survived in utero and in childhood, at least according to the interwebs, that is. And yet that's my barometer, my education, my knowledge base. The internet.

I still do it to this day. Look at my most recent google history from the last 24 hours:

"natural teething remedies"
"symptoms of teething"
"baby will not sleep"
"kinderpack baby carrier"
"can I feed my six month olds steel cut oats"
"is it safe for my baby to spoon feed herself" (because that's all they want to do, no blw, no me feeding them, just them feeding themselves. are they weird? no, see, I'm doing it again!)
"six month old twins do not sleep!"
"organic baby puree ideas"
"twin baby talent scout" (will get to that one later!)

It's insane how much I care about other people's experiences and opinions. I drive myself crazy worrying about if I'm not talking to them enough or if I'm not letting them have a chance to talk, or I'm not stimulating them enough or am I not giving them enough independent time, am I killing their guts by feeding them at six months or preventing allergies later in life as long as they're still ebf? Should they be crawling? Should we space out vaccines? Is it weird they each have two teeth but just learned to roll? Holy hell, the struggle is real, but I've finally realized it really doesn't have to be.

Enough. I'm saying enough of this crap filling my mind and my days. Whether I need to delete facebook or just leave these "support" groups I'm not sure. I do know that I'm done choosing sides and associating with bad behavior. No more remaining part of a community because I feel like I should belong, especially when they judge other moms. I don't adhere to any one parenting style, ever, so why try to label myself (note to self, maybe change the about section of this blog)? It's exhausting, not helpful and potentially damaging. No more, "know better, do better." It's not my job for you to know, it's yours. But at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what either of us does. Because they will survive. They will be fine.

My kids are have been bottle fed and breast fed. I've contemplated CIO and I nurse them to sleep sometimes. They have co-slept and crib slept. We cloth diaper all day and use disposables at night. Somedays they cry alone more often than I'd like and sometimes they get worn all day long. We vaccinate, they've had formula, we kept our cats, they have a jumper and sometimes my six month olds watch tv even though I'm fully aware of the "risks."

I drink wine, smoke a few cigarettes, ate some lunch meat and tuna while pregnant and yes, I even swore. Because of what I read (online!) while pregnant I avoided sushi, coffee, beer and subs (because apparently I was just anti the good stuff) for fears that they would undoubtedly cause a miscarriage or pre-term labor (ha, joke's on me, I went at 35 weeks anyways!). I might try to limit my mercury intake by not eating too much fish but I love tuna. And salmon. And sushi. So much sushi now. I break rules every single day that I have arbitrarily set for myself and then I beat myself up after. And yet, at the end of the day they're the happiest, healthiest six month old identical twins named Juliette and Vivienne that I know (see, no comparisons anymore). No matter what I've done, as long as I'm not hurting them, they're fine.

So yeah, I'm over it. I've already unfollowed a few friends and groups on facebook that felt toxic and more are to come. I am choosing to spend my energy learning more about RIE and Mindful Parenting practices, mixed with what I know, for our next few years as well as researching my Montessori/Waldorf/Homeschooling/Whatever educational plan for the future. If that doesn't work then I'll reassess and go from there. I just want to be the best parent I can be by following my heart and my gut and the advice of every woman I'm close to, whether they're a mom or not, based on real connection and commonalities, not based on what dr. google or facebook says. I am choosing this over the world we are unfortunate enough to have children in, the world of facebook, the alpha parent and other "mommy" hang out spots (kind of like this one..but not really) that espouse ideas and stories and make you think and wonder and, ultimately, worry. We create an unnecessary anxiety simply by existing because there is no denying the old adage: misery loves company (and parenting is a bitch). But if you're looking on the bright side (which I'm getting to): it also takes a village.

That is the upside to this culture.  It takes a village and we have each other! How freaking lucky are we, compared to our own moms, that we have access to so many women, with so many experiences, every day right at our fingertips?

We have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. I know my mom would have preferred to have someone, anyone, other than her own mother and MIL to relate to and talk while pregnant and raising us. We can just do a quick google search or post in a facebook group and boom we get a hundred likes as well as the "so been there" or "I'm so sorry, how can I help?" comments. Sadly, we also get the judgement and the fear mongering and "facts" and "opinions" (I swear to God half the population does not actually know the definition of those two words) of the masses. We are ridiculed and berated, told we are wrong, that our children are unsafe or unhealthy or, most horribly that we do not care about our babies or their futures. It's awful and it's the opposite of a community. Wait, this is the stuff that I'm sick of.. so it begs the question: do we really need these connections bad enough to put up with all this bullshit?

YES. Of course we do. It's awesome to connect with someone, to make a friend who totally gets you and understands. It feels SO good to find a blog that totally speaks to your soul and you feel like the writer is your long lost second sister (lookin' at you Renegade Mothering, Scary Mommy and Mommy Shorts). So I say let's do that instead. If you can't be someone's friend online because you don't agree, just leave them the hell alone like you would in real life! Stop the educating and the soap box speeches hiding behind the guise of "my opinion", stop the judging of things you just don't understand and please, stop the insulting. If you're calling someone stupid or an unfit or awful mother based on a deliberate and perfectly safe choice she made (read: it didn't/won't for sure kill her or her child) then please leave the internet forever. The world, motherhood and our children will truly be better for it, I promise you.

Again, think about this: Thirty one years ago everyone told my mother to put me on my belly to sleep, not to breastfeed me, to give me cereal at 4 months, gave me antibiotics for everything and I'm not entirely sure I rear-faced for more than six or seven months (*I'm not saying you should do those things, but I'm not not saying you should either). Nowadays my own mom would be bitch slapped by many of many of these "groups" that I belong to and probably made to think she had actually killed me despite that fact that I am here and I am pretty amazing.

So that's the end. I'm done. I will still write here, soon enough, but I'm feeling pretty anti-the internet and "the parenting culture" as I've taken to calling it these days so I think I'm going to immerse myself in my genealogy research instead and enjoy the 2 hours of baby-free-time I get a day (don't worry, it's spread out in 20 minute spurts so I don't really have time to blog either). Maybe I'll give it all up for lent? Probably not though.

Until then, keep up the good work all you amazing Mamas out there, don't let the bitches get you down. Or the google. Or the facebook algorithm that reminds you every day that you're doing it all wrong. You got this!


February 15, 2015

First Valentine's Day!

We had a great time celebrating Valentine's Day with dinner at my Dads. His friend Stacey made delicious pulled pork, mac & cheese and corn bread. The girls had a great time hanging out and playing with their cousin, Jillian. We looked at my Dad's pictures of Paris too, so beautiful.

The girls and I made special Valentine's for Daddy yesterday. I was pretty proud of our first project together aside from the handprint ornaments from Christmas. They did fantastic for babies and loved having their feet painted. They wore their Valentine's jammies to bed last night and adorable sweater outfits from Aunt Lisa. We've been going a little stir crazy with all this cold and snow lately so it was nice to get out of the house and be social for a bit. Now CJ and I are snuggling up watching a movie and fighting sleep! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

February 5, 2015

How We Survived The First Three Months With Twins

So you just popped out not just one but two (or more) babies! Congratulations, life is about to get a whole lot more interesting. The first few weeks will be an absolute blur of crying, diapers and feedings and at times you will feel like a dirty, exhausted human milk machine. Press on, dear friend, for you too will survive and thrive as I have. We are six months in and those days are but a distant memory as we have settled into a groove, gotten to know each other better and found a routine that works for us. I'm a little more relaxed now when it comes to scheduling and doing everything "right" but I swear having a routine saved my sanity in the beginning.

We followed the eat, play, sleep schedule from day one. I found it gave me ample "me" time in the beginning and helped set the groundwork for the ideal schedule later on. Newborns sleep constantly though so sometimes activity time was only a few minutes in between sleeps. Somedays it looks more like eat, sleep, play, sleep or eat, sleep, eat. As long as you're doing something interactive when baby is awake you're doing great - even if it's just a snuggle and a song. So, here's what our days looked like those first few weeks:

Daily Schedule for Newborn Twins:

Juliette was often "milk drunk" and it was hard to rouse her after a feeding
9am - Have bottles/boobs ready to go. Wake babies, change and dress for the day. I always dressed them in clothes mainly because I had approximately 1 million Newborn outfits given to them and felt the need to get them all on at least once. Have one twin do tummy time in the crib while you change the other. Turn on lights, open the curtains and put on music to signify this is wake up time. Feed and pump on the couch with boppies/nursing pillow. They may fall asleep while eating for the first few weeks and they will need to be burped during and after but take heart - feeding doesn't take this long forever. Eventually you get into a groove.

945 -  Activity time and twin bonding time - Assuming babies are awake play music, do baby exercises, tummy time, baby yoga or mama yoga with babies. Lay them together and help them find each other. If they want to sleep, let them. Jules always fell asleep eating, Viv not so much. If they wake up early do exercises or sing songs then long as they're not hungry. Get them to nap at the same time if you can but the one-on-one time is actually kind of nice.

1030 - First Nap. Keep an eye on the clock so they don't get overtired. I found an hour and a half was max time including feeding time. Try to put them down drowsy but awake, let them look at their mobile and listen to lullabies. I put babies in the same crib for naps. But really when it comes down to it how ever you have to make it happen, just make sure they sleep. Sleep is more important than anything right now. Whether it's in the rock and plays, swings, momaroos or on you, who cares, as long as they're sleeping. It's ideal if you can walk away to shower or eat but get them sleeping however you can.

12pm - Wake up, change, tummy time for other twin and do personal grooming -  brush hair, apply lotion, nails clipped, check creases and folds for yuck, especially the neck. Give a bath if you want/if there's time but I found it made them too sleepy during feedings. You can do this in the morning but I liked to split checking and dressing to save time before a feeding. Feed and pump

1245 - Storytime, sing songs, snuggle, learning play. I did a version of circle time and some fingerplay songs before we snuggled and read books. Eventually I want this to be quiet time before the afternoon nap so I try not to overstimulate them after "lunch" with too much active play. Now they come in the kitchen with me (here's my post on 10 Ways to Get Things Done with Infant Twins) while I make myself lunch, meal prep for dinner or make purees for them and talk to them.

130 - Second Nap. Same as before. Take this time to do something productive or for yourself. Read some articles on parenting or a book. Write down your pregnancy and birth stories. Start filling in baby books. Pet your cat. Zone out with some trashy soap operas. Take a nap if your babies don't wake up as soon as you get comfortable like mine did.

3pm - Wake and change. Tummy time in crib for other twin while changing. Feed and pump

345 - More active play. Play fun music while babies play on playmat, do tummy time, sensory play, and other activities. End with a story and a snuggle.

430 - Third Nap. Same as before. Start thinking about dinner and making preparations. Eat. Have a cup of coffee if it won't keep you up all night. Do a load of laundry. Relax if you can.

600pm - Wake, change, tummy time in crib. Feed and pump. If SO comes home around this time have them participate and feed one or be ready to take babies as they come off the boob. When both babies are fed SO should play with them while you get a break to shower or eat and then make dinner.  This is SO's special time with babies and the break is super important to the sanity of the stay at home parent.

645 - Babies have quiet play/snuggling/bonding time with SO. Together do bath time (every 3-4 days, sponge bath on off days) and put pajamas on babies and everyone reads stories either on the couch or with twins in bed/cribs.  Rock babies together, sing lullabies and lay them down.

730-845 - While babies sleep you and SO eat dinner together at the kitchen/dining room table. Talk to each other. After  a run down of your day or any concerns, talk about anything not related to babies so you feel like you're still a part of the human race.

Because even identicals can be opposites. Viv liked to ponder life after every feeding.
900pm - Wake both babies, change diapers and feed together with SO. Keep lights very low and TV off. Keep lullaby music/white noise on and if you can feed them in the nursery. If you're like us and live in a shoebox then feed in the living room as quietly as you can. This time put the twins right back to sleep after feeding. Viv almost never fell asleep immediately after a feeding no matter how late so if they have energy to burn we would do stretches with them, offer a massage, sing lullabies, hold and rock to let them know it's back to sleep time. Put them down drowsy but awake or nurse to sleep if you want. Although it's a good idea to set good habits from the start the first few weeks you can get away with this.

9:45pm - One parent puts babies down while the other cleans up then washes and makes half a dozen bottles for the overnight. Trust me, you don't want to be making bottles at 3am. It is so much easier to just put some hot water in a bowl and warm them up. Get boppies, blankets, bibs, cloths and diapers ready for late night feeding and changing wherever you will do it to minimize wakefulness and clumsy accidents. Teamwork is key here in getting some sleep. Unless you're on your own and are awesome!

10:15pm - Downtime/Bedtime/Pumping time/Husbandtime/Whatever.  We watched a show or I blogged while CJ played Xbox. If the babies didn't go down so easily we dealt with them and I would go straight to bed after pumping.

11:00pm - You go to bed if not attached to a baby. Really, the goal is for you to be in bed by 11:30 at the latest and if you have a helpful SO have them do the midnight feeding solo. Then SO goes to bed around 12:45 and you get up for the 3am feeding solo. This way you both get four-five hours of straight sleep. This is even possible to do while nursing unless babies are cluster feeding or need extra comfort through the night and you're not in pain.

12am - SO does a quiet solo feeding or if you're nursing they change babies and bring them to you in bed to eat. Stagger them if you can so you can do a dreamfeed with side-laying nursing. Don't overstimulate yourself or the babies. Everyone goes to sleep after feeding.

3am - You wake, change diapers and feed/pump, going back to sleep right after. Let SO sleep so they get at least 5 hours.

345 - Babies back to bed, you go back to sleep.

6am - SO wakes up, changes diapers, keeping the room dark and quiet. They wake you to feed or if using bottles and they're particulary helpful they let you sleep and do the feeding themselves before getting ready for work. Either way put babies back to sleep right after. If they want to be up try to have some quiet snuggle time. If they're active do some stretches and quiet play. Try to get them back down as soon as you can.

7-9 - SO wakes you up so you can get a cup of coffee and something to eat before babies get up. Then you take it from the top!

Six months in and we're still pretty close to this schedule. 

Some Necessities for Keeping Your Sanity Those First Few Weeks

  • Two boppy pillows or a twin nursing pillow
  • Boxes/bins of approximately 50 burp cloths and bibs, plus wipes nearby feeding area
  • Have pre-made bottles ready to go in the fridge at least 3 feedings ahead of time
  • Easy to grab snacks and ready-made meals for quick eating whenever you get the chance
  • Room darkening shades or curtains to facilitate good naps in the twins' room
  • Coconut oil for sore nipples from feeding or pumping. They will toughen up eventually
  • Learn to let the little things go. And by the little things I mean almost everything not pertaining to babies. The laundry, cleaning and housework will get done eventually. 
  • Remind yourself every day of two things: 1) It WILL get easier. 2) They could be triplets!
  • Take pictures. Lots of pictures. When babies are driving you nuts look at said pictures and remind yourself this is the most important thing you've ever done. And these moments will pass all too quickly so try to snap a pic every day.
Best Daddy Ever.
  • Make a pact with your SO that no matter how exhausted or stressed you both are you will not turn on each other. I repeat - DO NOT TURN ON EACH OTHER. Stay a team and you will make it through this. This is so incredibly important to remember. It's like my favorite survivor Jack Shepard once said, "We either live together or die alone." No, you won't die but your life will be a hell of a lot harder if you two are constantly butting heads and bickering. Plus, babies pick up on that tension and play it out with crankiness and no sleep. No one wants that.

There were days when I felt so incredibly blessed and happy. Then there were nights when I felt like there was no way I could possibly do this anymore. But the sun rose and we made it through the night and every day it got a little bit easier.  Eventually these days will be a thing of the distant past so hold on to the moments as they pass, smile and laugh through the tears and know that you can and will do this!


February 3, 2015

There Are Some Things I Do Know

My post the other night about knowing all about parenting got me thinking a lot. So much so that I had a nightmare about it the night after I wrote it. I dreamed I ran into an old daycare parent at the grocery store and the girls were about 2. She asked me how potty training was going and I told her were just starting it. For some reason I felt the need to tell her what we were doing and she laughed in my face. She told me I was crazy, it would never work, especially because they were my own children and not daycare kids. I was really upset and woke up angry at this poor mom. All I could think was, "That's how I potty trained YOUR child when you wanted to do it! Why wouldn't it work?!"

That's besides the point though - what really matters is why in the hell I was dreaming about this in the first place.

I think I was a little hard on myself in my post, declaring that I knew nothing about parenting. It's true, I know very little about actually being a parent but that's not to say I know nothing about children or the care that they require. All that we child care providers learn over our careers make us unique in our ability to parent with prior knowledge of methods, tools, technique and results. A professional baker doesn't have to start from scratch when baking cookies with their child at home any more than I have to use a blank slate when it comes to caring for children.

The vast majority of people I know have spent maybe a total of one month of their lives with children before having their own. Plenty of these people have never changed a diaper let alone bathed, fed or toilet trained child. I've done so with hundreds of children. In fact I've spent most of my adult life doing just those things and then some. I may not be a great parent, yet, but I am a skilled and qualified child care provider who has amassed a wealth of helpful knowledge that absolutely aids in my daily life as a new mom. I think that's worth something and I hate that I have discounted it simply because of the logistics of actually having a child who relies on you all day and night versus just 40-50 hours a week as I did in child care.

One of the reasons I thought I knew so much was because I've had the luxury of trying things out in a controlled setting with a number of children at different stages in their lives. If a child was having difficulty, say with potty training at home, I would implement one of the strategies I had tried in the past and inform the parent of it and working together we would tackle the problem. If the parent wasn't on board it was always more difficult but I learned to adapt and make do and more often then not we would end up with children who were potty trained at school but not at home until months later. Why am I having doubts now that my method will work on my own children? Why am I actually afraid that they will be in diapers until kindergarten (does it really matter if they are?)

Well, I answered these questions the last time, I guess. It's what I didn't realize until actually becoming a mom, despite being told "just wait until you have your own" a million times. It's because that's not how this relationship works. Children's relationships with their parents are wired differently than with care providers. Mom and Dad have been there through it all, heard your very first cry and cried and smiled right along with you from the second you arrived on earth. As parents we love with a ferocity that can terrify grown men. And you, as the child on the receiving end of that love, KNOW it. From an eerily early point - you can literally feel your love for us just as strongly as we can although we feel and understand it as love, to you it is simply all you know. You don't know what it means but you know that it feels good and when it goes away it makes you sad. So you cry. And we come and fix the pain, because, god damn it, we're supposed to. We are hard-wired to.

This instinctual love makes implementing and following through with even the most logical parenting choices incredibly difficult. Starting from that first night - maybe you tell yourself you're going to stick to a schedule so you all get some sleep or that you won't ever let baby sleep in your bed. Yet as soon as you feel like baby might be hungry you're sticking a boob or a bottle in their face or pulling them into your bed because they're too damn cute not to snuggle up with. That's what I'm up against, it's biology and I wasn't meant to understand it until the change took place in my own body. It's the meaning of life itself.

We break our own rules all the time as parents not because it's easier for us but because we don't have a choice - they're our children and we're meant to provide for and protect them no matter what. It changes the ground rules for any type of life training, just ask any care provider whose been told how wonderful she is with children while she scratches her head and quietly thinks about how her own child is so difficult at times. How her child does not seem to listen to her or how none of the proven methods she knows are working with them. I find this to be even more distressing because we providers, unlike most new parents, actually have experience with so many of the struggles we face as parents.

As providers, we have been there, done that, time and again. I have tried the various methods for sleep and toilet training and tantrums etc. Through trial and error I have found and can attest to the ones that work and the ones that make the situation worse. But like I said before no one method works for every child every time. This is where my fears got the better of me and where I got the feeling that even with all that I know, I really know nothing. The truth is, none of us can know until we are forced to try it with our own children. Then we find what works for us and our family and we can finally say we have a working knowledge of not only these methods but of our children themselves.

All this just to say that there are some things that I do know.
I know how to change a diaper in 30 seconds.
I know how to clothe a baby in 2 minutes with little tears and struggle.
I know how to put any carseat into a vehicle and how to get any size child into that car seat safely.
And, addressing our latest battle, I absolutely know how to put a child to sleep.

The lines just blurred when it came to my own children. Because... instinct. Instinct told me to go to them, to hold them, to nurse them, despite the fact that I am very obviously inhibiting their natural ability to sleep. As soon as I started bringing them in my bed again and nursing them on demand all night long, their sleep became disruptive and not at all restful. I need to use my other instincts, the ones that come with years of experience caring for other people's children. I need to go back to basics and forget about all the mushy aspects of being mom. And so I did.

Last night, I threw back to my old daycare days and did exactly what I've done with the hundreds of children I have helped fall asleep. I sat by their beds, rubbed their bellies or arms and shushed them while reminding them I am here and I know this is hard but it was time for sleep and when we wake up we can play.

Guess what? It took an hour (as it would to break a month long habit of falling asleep in my bed nursing) but they fell asleep. And when they woke up an hour later we did it again. This time it only took 15 minutes. The next time they woke up it was 4am and it was only to let out a few yelps in protest. I sleepily held the monitor close and told myself that if they had cried I would go in but they didn't. It was like they were just trying to see what would happen. After a few yells each they went back to sleep and woke up ready to eat at 630. I nursed them and laid them back down, awake but drowsy, and they slept until 830 when we all got up. For the first time in a month I got almost 6 hours of straight sleep without them in our bed.

Yes, I know the benefits of comfort nursing. I know it's ok to co-sleep. I loved it. I know they may be too young to sleep train by certain parenting styles. But I also know that what we were doing was not working for me and my family. I will never abandon my children to figure out how to sleep on their own, but as I said from the beginning I can help them learn and guide them through the process of falling asleep without inhibiting their natural ability to do so. It's only been one night and I know it will change as we have more teeth come in and growth spurts occur but for now, we're counting this as a victory.

See, I do know some things.


February 2, 2015

I knew everything about parenting before becoming a parent! Or not.

I started babysitting when I was 11, got my first nannying gig at 16 then worked in my first daycare at 19. It was then that I pretty much knew I'd always care for kids in some capacity for rest of my life.  Thanks to this experience, Le Moyne College for the Psych degree and my thirst for knowledge into adulthood (that sounds so lame, really I just read ECE and parenting articles or blogs I find on facebook and instagram) I have cultivated a vast and varied knowledge of child development and technique. You can never know it all but by the time I was pregnant I already knew what parenting choices to make and those to avoid and I was going to STICK TO IT!

I thought I knew what it was to be a good parent and that at the end of the day it was only as hard as you made it out to be.  I was lucky to witness and learn from every single parenting choice in the book. I saw the causes of these choices - you'd be surprised how much economic situation, lifestyle preferences, education and personal experiences effect the way people raise their young. I also got to observe the impact these choices had on the children themselves. I already knew so much that I actually thought I wouldn't have to do the hard part of trying out what might work, I'd just dive in with the "best" way as I had determined based on all this information. Ha! Hahahahaha is all I can say now.

In reality, this thinking just set me up for my own demise. I knew being a parent was hard but because I thought I'd seen/heard/done it all over the course of caring for hundreds of children I thought there was nothing it could throw at me I couldn't handle in stride. I had no freaking clue. The idea that I could control things, that I had any say at all in how my children ate, slept, behaved, etc. is laughable now. In child care you can control things to a certain extent. You say jump and most kids say how high. Parents used to tell me all the time that their children were great, for me, but I would be shocked if I saw them at home. I watched incredibly wonderful, polite and kind children dissolve into whiny, pushy, mean kids when mom walked in and thought,"That will never be me! I know better!" If I only had a spoon big enough with which to eat those words.

The truth I now know for sure is that no one way works with every child forever, no matter how hard you try. And what worked for a hundred other parents might not work for you. And that's ok, it's a part of the learning curve of actual parenting. I wish I had armed myself with THAT in-depth knowledge beforehand but I didn't, so I, just like every other parent that ever lived, am doing the dirty work myself and learning from my own mistakes and experiences. All the while laughing at the sheer naivete of my younger, child-less-child-care-provider self. Here's a few examples of this that I encounter on the daily now that I have 6 month old twins!

I knew that the tricks to teaching a baby to sleep were a having a good routine, staying consistent and that sleep begets sleep!

This is actually true, what's not is how easy I thought it would be for me. I have helped a lot of children to sleep at night, soothed them through nightmares and night terrors, eased the transitions from 3 naps to two to one to none and advised many parents on how to help children go down at night. I've heard and shared many success stories thanks to my tips. Oh my god if I could go back in time and prepare myself and also smack myself for ever thinking "SMH these parents are just making it harder on themselves!" when someone came to me with a sleep problem. I had NO CLUE how hard it actually was, especially with two, especially when you would sell your freaking soul to the devil just to get three straight hours of quality sleep.

Maybe I'm just lucky enough (or have enough bad karma stored up) to have two terrible sleepers but I cannot for the life of me get my children to go back to sleeping through the night or on a consistent nap schedule no matter what I try. It's gotten to the point that I'm looking in to hiring a sleep consultant (as if ever we could afford one). This was my first real eye opener that led to me writing this post. It's comical actually. Despite my vast experience with and past success with getting children to sleep I can't actually manage to do it with my own. It has become the bane of my existence and led me to question all that I know to be true in this world.

I knew I would never want my baby to take a pacifier!

I always knew we'd have them and use them if needed. I see no problem with kids using them to a point, although seeing a five year old with one kills me, especially if they talk around it.  They're great soothers and babies are born with a killer sucking reflex which is why pacifiers were invented in the first place. I prepared myself years ago with a plan for using them only when needed and weaning them off them before it became a problem. If they gave them up early I would celebrate! I never thought in a million years I would end up practically begging my children to take them just to get some effing sleep in my life. Now that I have two sleep fighting six month olds who basically scream at the sight of their once beloved bobos I am ready to lose my mind and wish so much that they would just take the damn things.

Up until about a month ago, when they got their first colds, we could pop one in and off to dreamland they would go. They even learned how to find them on their own thanks to the nifty invention of Wubbanubs! Then out of nowhere they went on a binky strike and we have been fighting and losing the battle of sleep deprivation ever since. Now I am their pacifier and they simply will not settle without the boob. I don't mind it during the day, it's at night that I wish they could just pick up their wubs (which they love while they're awake and playing of course) and drift back off to sleep rather than demanding to comfort nurse every hour on the hour.

I knew it wouldn't be hard for me to leave my children for a night at a sitter or at daycare because I knew they (and I) would be fine and I would be dying to get away! 

Considering the fact that I haven't gone back to work despite being seriously poor since last July we all know this one is shot to hell. It's not that I couldn't get a job, I've been offered several over the last 9 months, two of which were sight unseen based on my resume alone. But the thought of someone else caring for my children strikes a fear in my heart so strong I literally burst in to tears at the very idea of it. My past in child care has led to a strong distrust of strangers and all I have to say to working moms is a nanny cam is your best friend. You just never really know people. My girls have been away from me for exactly two evenings and both times were with my own mother or godmother and not until after they were four months old.

I remember thinking that I couldn't wait until we could go on our first date night, that I would be taking everyone up on their offer to watch them as soon as I was all healed up and got the go ahead to have a drink. So not the case. We have yet to go on an actual date, just the two of us, because I can't for the life of me leave them behind without a very good reason (like a friend's birthday or a special adults-only Christmas dinner). I don't think they will ever be in daycare unless we become truly desperate. And honestly, if it got to that point, I would probably work nights and watch them all day while CJ works before they go to a sitter. It's scary.

I knew my husband and I would always see eye to eye on child rearing decisions because we were proactive and figured it all out before!

This one caught me most off guard. We had discussed so many things prior to the arrival of our little sleepless bundles of joy and we were almost always on the same page. We agreed that we were lucky I had so much experience, most things would come naturally to me and although in the beginning he deferred to me often he was a fast learner and loved participating. Now as we encounter our first real parenting struggles we find ourselves butting heads over the stupidest things. He's convinced they're hungry when I know they just want to suck or be held. He doesn't think they're tired when I think nothing else makes sense and try to lay them down. He thinks when a baby cries something is always wrong, I think sometimes babies just need to cry to release frustration, much like their mother. He likes to rock them or hold them until they're passed out I would rather put them in the crib drowsy but awake.  Lately, he thinks they're waking up all night because they're not eating enough during the day while I'm pretty sure it's teething and a growth spurt. At the end of the day we always make up and talk about the issue and we are still each others' rock but man it's trying at times. I absolutely could not do this without him and yet I am so surprised at the things we argue about and how adamant each of us is that we're correct.

I knew co-sleeping was great, it just wasn't for me!

I discussed this at length in my first Great Debate post. I totally understand co-sleeping for security and closeness but never in a million years saw myself actually doing it. Fast forward six months and they've spent more nights in our bed than their own. The shift happened gradually but went full steam once I started nursing. It is so true that nursing moms get more sleep as we have the ability to side-lay nurse which allows both mom and baby to fall back to sleep in the same bed rather than everyone getting up and aroused with bottle making and feeding then putting them back in their cribs and trying to fall asleep for a few hours before the next feeding. I just keep them in bed with us and wait for them to stir, roll over and "boob 'em" as we call it. Sure it's probably the cause of our sleep issues but it's also the solution so, uh, there you have it? Really, it's just another one of those mind-fuck cyclical dramas of parenting. How messed up is it that co-sleeping is not only the cause but also the cure of our sleep problems? Excuse my language but I am le tired.

I knew I would never lose my cool, they're just babies for god's sake!

This. I naturally have a hot temper and a short fuse but I have always been able to keep myself in check when it came to kids. I used to get super pissed when a parent would scream at, spank or threaten their child in my presence. I knew well enough to walk away, take a break and come back calm, cool and collected and ready to tackle the problem at hand. If that wasn't possible you put hte child in a safe place and take a break wherever you could. This was super easy when I worked in child care as I just tagged in my assistant and went outside for a breather. By the time I came back she had diffused the situation and I was able to approach it again with a fresh set of eyes and clear mind.  I figured when I had my own I could just walk away and return ready to face the problem. No go. This is impossible when you have your own children.

Not only do SAHMs (especially with multiples) rarely get an actual break let alone a minute alone, if you do happen to you feel incredibly guilty for feeling the way you do so it's not really a break at all. Sometimes I get so frustrated with the crying I just want to give up and go outside for a minute but then I look at them and actually feel like a bad person for feeling that way. Plus, what if something happened in that second I was gone? Everything I know goes out the window when I look at them and hear their cries, luckily the anger ususally melts away as well when I remind myself they're just babies, but still, I've gotten to that point more often than I would like to admit. I have learned to bite the bullet, yell or cry right along with them then swallow my frustration and press on. Who knows what I will do when I have real-live tantrum throwing nay-saying toddlers on my hands!

And finally, hand in hand with the last one, I knew what it was to really love a child like my own!

I think this must come as a shock for all us child-less child care providers. Most of us genuinely care for the children we watch and some of those children we may feel like we actually love like our own, depending on the depth of our relationship with them. The kids I nannied for or my niece for example, I have been through so much with them and I really truly love them. But my heart had no clue. I had no idea what it meant to really love your own child until I met mine and that same heart evolved right there in my chest never to be the same again. Sure I knew it would be different, stronger maybe, but love is love right?

Nope. I still love the kids I cared for but I never before understood this fierce mama bear love that would make me want to lay my own life on the line like I do for these two little girls. This is the kind of love that makes you forget all logic and prior knowledge, that leads you to make the craziest choices for no good reason, hell, this is the love that allows women to lift cars to save their children's lives. No matter how frustrated or sleep-deprived I get I would do absolutely anything in the world for these tiny people and they are the only people in the whole 8 billion on earth that I can say that for. It's an incredible feeling and one you absolutely cannot know until you have children you can call your own.

So, needless to say I've learned more in the last six months than I did in 20 years of child care. I'm happier and better for it too but damn if I wish I didn't have to learn it all the hard way!


February 1, 2015

Six Months!

We're six months old!! Happy Half Birthday to my Little Leos! What a whirlwind the past six months have been, I can hardly believe it. The last month has been amazing as they are really growing into their personalities and becoming little people.

They have grown soooo much in the last six months it's hard to believe the little peanuts they started out as. Juliette is exactly 13 lbs., 25 inches long. Vivienne is 13 lbs. 2 oz. and 25.5 inches long. We always thought Jules would be our bigger girl but Viv has surpassed her and shows no signs of stopping!

We had our developmental pediatrician appointment and the girls are developing right on schedule with their adjusted age if not a little more quickly. They were so impressed with them and so happy with their progress. We got the go ahead to start solid food and the girls had their first taste of sweet potatoes right at 6 months. They weren't so sure at first but after a few bites they were gumming it and loving it!

The end of the month was a little more trying as we had Juliette's surgery to repair her hydronephrosis of her right kidney. It wasn't a great time but she did fantastic and is healing really well. We are so happy that we can finally put this battle behind us and move on.

We had lots more firsts this month too! Vivienne was the first to roll over, first belly to back and then back to belly. She seems to enjoy the latter much more and now proceeds to get stuck on her belly whenever she decides to roll rather than trying to roll back over. She can reach for toys and push herself up too just waiting for her to figure out how to go back over! Jules has very little interest in rolling but I don't think it's a delay, I'm pretty sure she just doesn't want to yet!

We celebrated our first New Years Eve with them, although they slept through the ball dropping they did wake up just about an hour later to celebrate with us. 

We both have two teeth coming in! Viv's first one popped in the middle of the month and the second a few days ago. Jules' two front teeth decided to pop through the day of her surgery which I guess was a blessing as she was already dosed up on some pretty heavy pain meds! They love chewing on soft toys and fingers!

We went on our first shopping trip as a family to Target and of course they had so much fun cooing and smiling at all the new people we saw. We made sure they weren't touched to avoid catching any bugs but people just love looking at them and asking questions about them. I love how they seem to brighten anyone's day just by their presence!

They had their first real time away from Mom and Dad on January 2nd as we went out to dinner with friends and they spent the evening with Aunt Lisa and Uncle John. Then Viv had her first overnight with GiGi and Jama while we were in the hospital with Jules. They're such angels for other people and they both did so great.

Sleep has been sparse this month what with finishing up the four month sleep regression, teething and now the six month growth spurt. We have completely regressed and they are now back in our room in their rock and plays and eventually both end up in our bed as they marathon feed through the night. It's starting to wear on me but I know it's only temporary and to be honest after the surgery I am just so happy to have them both home and healthy that I don't mind the wake-ups. I originally thought Viv was going to be our tough sleeper but since they flip flopped Juliette has proven she definitely inherited my penchant for insomnia. We are lucky to get three straight hours out of her at night and this usually doesn't happen until after 11pm. After that she is up every hour or so to eat and rarely naps for longer than 25 minutes three times a day. I know she's not getting enough sleep but she fights it so hard and when it finally does happen the slightest thing can disrupt it. I'm talking changes in air pressure or the sound of a cat meowing two rooms over. There is no getting her back down once she's up and I would be thoroughly frustrated if I could not completely relate to her. This is what I've done my whole life. Viv wakes up and can be soothed back to sleep but it's never for much longer. Thanks Mom for cursing me with the whole "I hope you end up with TWO children just like yourself." I did. Karma is a bitch. Good thing I'm ok with rolling with it. I learned quickly that I can't force them to do anything in terms of sleep or a schedule and I don't really want to push them to go against their natural instinct just yet. Sleep can wait, they're only little for so long.

Life has been such a roller coaster since we found out about them, almost exactly a year ago. We wouldn't trade these sleepless nights or teething days for anything in the world. Those smiles and laughs make it all worth it!

Here's to another happy and joyous six months! I just hope it doesn't fly by so fast!