Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We went shopping...

And Benjamin finds it exhausting!  I was lured to our local shopping area by all the big signs that said "SALE!"  Last year at this time I was unemployed and hoping to get pregnant, so I didn't shop much.  Then I was pregnant and not showing much... and got hand-me-down maternity clothes... and then got put on bed rest.  So I have not really shopped in a long time. 

I am not yet back to my former size and shape, but I am not too far off.  Today I got a pair of shorts to wear while I am being a mommy and a skirt to wear while I am going to work.  The skirt is a size 4 pencil skirt that I bought 1) because it was on sale and 2) because I could fit into it!

We came home and the boys were cranky, I fed them, and then I cooked dinner with Asher on me in the Moby wrap.  I had a major mishap-- I went to put the lid on the salad shaker, and instead the shaker slipped out from underneath and sprayed balsamic vinegar all over the kitchen!  I just stood there for a second taking it all in and Eric said, "Are you going to pick the shaker up?" 

Right as we were finishing the clean-up and getting ready to sit down, our friend Susan showed up with a delivery from Whole Foods-- beer, cherries, tomatoes and mozzarella, and a homemade lemon-blueberry loaf.  So we invited her to stay for dinner, which made for good company and of course, good food.  

I put the babies to bed separately tonight, which is a nice change.  I nursed Asher alone in the nursery, in the glider, and sang him some lullabies and held him in my arms.  It was very peaceful and made me so glad that I am nursing and can have these moments with my sons.  I later nursed Benjamin downstairs, but he was still hungry (not a surprise) so I gave him some milk in a bottle and he fell asleep in my arms.  That was also nice, we had a cuddle and I kissed his velvety head and listened to his little sounds.  I love these little moments and try to hold on to them because I know they will pass too quickly.  I just love the solid feeling of them in my arms, their baby smells, their breath on my neck, their snuffles and sighs.  I hold them close and tell them how much I love them and how lucky I am to be their mommy.  I hope they know how much they are loved.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Three Months!

Yes, this is a belated post.  First I was going to wait to get a good picture of the babies.  Here is what I got when I tried to take a cute "Three Months Old" picture:
Asher is falling over, and Benjamin is in hysterics.  I will try again, but it obviously won't be on their 3-month birthday. 

No visit to the doctor this month, so I don't have an update on their heights and weights, but it seems to me that they're getting bigger everyday!  Asher gets taller and taller, and Ben seems to be filling out, he has chubby arms and legs and a round belly.  I joke that those chicken legs he was born with are still in there somewhere!

They are doing so well with sleeping, we are very lucky.  They regularly go from about 8 or 8:30 until at least 4 am.  This morning Benjamin slept til 5:30 and Asher until 6.  Then we tried to go back to sleep again without much luck.  Next up: nap times!  We don't have any formal nap times, but I would like to institute a morning nap and an afternoon nap.  On one hand, this will constrain my schedule.  On the other hand, it will give me time each day where it is quiet and I can do things for myself.  Plus, I think it is good for babies to be well-rested.  As my dad pointed out, they are so much more aware now, and their brains need time to rest and process all that they learn each day.

They are still rolling from tummy to back, Benjamin more than Asher.  In the past few days, Benjamin has become more calm and enjoyed time awake and alone, just watching the world.  They both love to "talk" and make baby noises.  Benjamin is smiling more than he was, and Asher smiles all the time.  I LOVE their smiles, it just makes my day!

And we are halfway to my goal of 6 months of breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding has gotten much easier. Benjamin is still not a great nurser, but I am trying to nurse him more frequently, and do more tandem nursing.  I have gotten myself into trouble, though, because now Asher doesn't want to take a bottle.  So we are going to work on that while we are up with my in-laws, because I am going back to work in two weeks (two weeks!).  I am beginning to think that I will try to breastfeed until they are one year and can get cow's milk, because I really dislike the smell of formula.  Plus, I am cheap and I don't want to start buying it when they are bigger and eating more if I can still provide the nourishment myself.

This weekend we had a special visit from my cousin, Henri.  He is currently living in France, playing tennis for a living.  He came to the US for a few weeks to get physical therapy in New York, so he jumped on the train and visited us!  We loved having him, and he seemed to love the babies.  Here is Henri holding Asher:
Yes, ladies, Henri is extremely handsome.  No, he is not taken. He is out there as the greatest catch there is-- smart, handsome, very respectful, loves babies and his family... I could go on and on.  As could anyone who knows him!  We are hoping he comes back again soon.

We spent the weekend at Aunt Jane and Uncle Ed's pool to try to stay cool in this awful heat.  Here I am with Asher in his swim gear.  Funny because he hates the water and will scream if we dip his feet in, but I just thought it was too cute.
And here is Benjamin relaxing with his daddy in the hammock:
Overall, we had a very nice weekend.  We leave in a few days for our annual trip to New England.  It should be interesting, because Benjamin has decided he hates the car and just screams hysterically whenever we are in it.  It will be a test to see how long we can stand it.  Oh, and I called the pediatrician to ask if there was anything to do to make the trip more comfortable for us and they said, "Pick a closer destination."  I may be looking for a new pediatrician soon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers' Day!

Happy first Fathers' Day to Eric!  And happy 30th Fathers' Day to my Dad! And of course, happy Fathers' Day to my father-in-law, Steve, and my Grandpa David and my Grandpa Sy, and Eric's Grampa Whitten. 

I have to say that not too much special happened, other than that both boys took long naps and we both got to eat lunch at lunch time.  And Benjamin decided that Eric needed a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting to celebrate, so I baked a cake.  I am so impressed that I managed to bake a cake, and make the frosting.  And soon I will actually frost it!

The top picture is Eric holding a sleepy Asher this morning, and the other picture is my dad talking computers with Benjamin.  It will be interesting to see if these boys grow up as interested in computers as their father and grandfather.

We've had a very nice weekend.  My uncle Peter (my dad's brother) and my cousin Erica came into town on their way to DC.  We had Friday night dinner out on the patio at my parents' house, and then spent a lazy Saturday at my aunt Jane and uncle Ed's pool (Jane and Ed were out of town).  Then for dinner we went out!  This was our first dinner out at a restaurant with the babies.  We've done lunch, but never dinner.  We went out for Vietnamese, which our cleaning guy (who is Vietnamese) said was a good choice, because Vietnamese apparently like crying babies.

On our way there I pumped in the back seat, and then we got into the center of Philadelphia where there are all kinds of pedestrians, and I quickly threw my bra and shirt back on.  We soon arrived at the restaurant and carried the babies in; my parents, cousin, and my mom's friend Linda and her husband Mark were already there.  We started getting settled, when I realized my shirt felt lumpy.  I reached around my back, and my hands-free pumping bra was hanging out the back of my shirt!  The bra looks kind of like a tube top with holes, and since it gets a lot of use, it is stained yellow from milk all around the holes.  In other words, it looks weird and totally gross.  So I tried to pull it out of my shirt, and it wouldn't come out!  We could not figure out how to get it off of me, and in the meantime my mom started laughing hysterically, which set me off to laughing hysterically, and more and more people began to stare at us.  My dad told us to go to the ladies' room, so we did, and got me untangled, but it was pretty funny.

Below is a picture of the Fathers' Day cake I made (soooo good with vanilla ice cream!).

And two more pictures of daddies with babies:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Benjamin and Asher are 12 weeks old today!

First I will start with bad news-- my friend took her son off the ventilator yesterday.  She has lost both of her beautiful children.  I am devastated, so sad for her and for her family.  And I know that what I feel is nothing compared to her suffering right now. 

There is good news and happiness, though.  Benjamin and Asher are thriving and developing everyday!  In the past week, we have had nice, long stretches of sleep from both of them.  Two nights in a row, Benjamin slept from 8:30 to 5, and then Asher slept from 8:30 to 6:30 one night, and to 5:30 the next.  Last night they both woke up once, Ben at 3:30 and Asher at 4.  So, maybe last night wasn't the miracle the previous nights were, but I feel like we're headed in the right direction with sleep, and that is reassuring.  There is a light at the end of the fatigue tunnel.

This picture is from my perspective after a tandem nursing session.  Some of these sessions are better than others.  In the better sessions, both babies eat and get full and then lie there looking up at me like the cutie pies that they are.  In the not-so-good sessions, Ben can't stay latched and he starts to cry and wave his fists, hitting Asher and knocking him off, and then Asher cries and they are both still hungry at the end of it...  But I love getting to sit there and look at both of my babies' beautiful faces.  Especially in light of the bad news this week, I feel so lucky and can't believe these two perfect boys are my children to love forever.

They have also started to roll over.  So this is wonderful as a sign of their development, but not so wonderful when it is nap time and we put them down on their tummies...  today I was running back and forth turning them back to their tummies (and yes, they sleep on their tummies, go on and tell the Parenting Police, but the boys love it and sleep so well), and while I was with Asher, Ben would flip, I would turn Ben back and Asher would flip...  And they look so funny doing it, like little fish flopping around, then so surprised and unhappy on their backs with their legs in the air.  Now they just need to learn to go from back to tummy so that they don't have to cry!

They are so different.  Asher is quieter, and generally only cries if he is hungry or genuinely upset (or if it's bath time).  Benjamin cries more than Asher, and often without provocation.  Today I went to Trader Joe's with the boys, and Benjamin cried the whole way there, then stopped and sat quietly, watching everything with his big beautiful blue eyes while we were in the store.  We left, I put the groceries in the car, and then Benjamin in the car, and then he screamed the whole way home.  Asher smiles more than Benjamin.  Of course I worry that Benjamin is unhappy, but I think he is just a more serious person.  I was a serious child, and when I think about it, there are not many pictures of me smiling as a baby.  They are both loved and held and cared for, so it is a great argument for nature over nurture.

Here are pictures of the boys from this past week.  Benjamin, being serious and showing off his chubby cheeks:
And Asher, practicing his toothless grin and kicking his legs:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am sad today

Yesterday morning I received a text from a friend of mine, another twin mommy who was due in the fall, saying that she had been admitted to the hospital with pre-term labor.  She was 4 cm dilated. 

By evening they had been unable to completely stop her labor, and it seemed likely that she would deliver her twins.

At 6 am I got a text that she had delivered her twins at 24 weeks, with her son weighing a little over a pound, and her daughter weighing under a pound.

At 9:30 I got another text that her daughter had passed away.  Her son is currently stable in the NICU.

I am sick with sadness for my friend and her family.  I remember my own fear of losing my babies when I was placed on bedrest, and I imagine it magnified a thousand times over for her.  I wish she had been able to find something was wrong before going into labor, I wish they could have stopped her labor, I wish her daughter had lived. 

She and her husband hosted Eric, the babies, and me for dinner not even two weeks ago.  She was glowing with happiness, rubbing her beautiful belly, showing off her ultrasound pictures.  We talked about twin baby products, what they would need, the experience of breastfeeding twins.  We had such a wonderful time, and there was such happy anticipation for their future.  I keep thinking of how her life will never be the same.  Her memories will always be tinged with sadness, knowing how things ended.  She won't need that twin jogging stroller, or the two cribs they bought.  Any future pregnancies she has will be fearful, with worry of pre-term labor and loss.  I hate that in a day, her dreams and happiness were taken away.

Of course I am even more thankful for my beautiful, healthy boys.  I have kissed them thousands of times today and told them how much I love them.  I also have a little bit of what feels like "survivor's guilt"-- why do I get to be so lucky and others so unfortunate?  I am grateful for all that I have, and I only wish that the people I care about could have the same.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We have a thumbsucker!

Today Asher really found his thumb.  For weeks he has been cramming in his whole fist, or the side of his thumb, or part of his thumb but then immediately losing it when he goes to wave his hands around.  Today he got his thumb in, just the thumb, and left it there. And repeated the maneuver several times!  It seems to be working well to soothe him, so I am fine with it.  (I should mention I sucked my thumb til I was 6.)  I foresee a great deal of orthodontia in our future!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I can't help myself

So here is another picture of the boys from yesterday.  They are 11 weeks old today!  So hard to believe, time is flying!

Today's news is that I talked to my supervisor and will be returning to work one day a week on July 13.  Apparently all the other psychologists in the practice have schedules that are completely full, so it seems likely that I will have clients right from the start.  This is good news!  My student loans need paying, so I better get to working.  My plan is to do 1 day a week through the summer, and then 2 days a week when I feel ready (hopefully when the boys are about 6 months).  And, eventually, 3 days a week.  We'll see how it goes.  I am both excited to go back to work and actually use my brain and degree, and anxious about being away from the boys and how much it will cost to hire help while I am gone.

My mom asked that I clarify that the picture I posted of Benjamin in the previous post was to show off how fat he has gotten, and not because he looks especially good.  He is much cuter in real life, obviously.  As today's picture demonstrates.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I have been remiss

In posting.  I started an entry that quickly got into a rant about sleep (or lack thereof), and put down the computer to go read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child."  Which made me realize that we are not yet ready to sleep train these babies.  Mostly because there maximum amount of time between feedings is about 5 hours.  Once we got 6 from Benjamin, but that's it.  So until they are bigger and lasting longer between feedings, we are stuck.  We are coping, though.  Right now we are getting them to bed by 8:30 (although Asher was up past 9 just chatting in his crib last night), we get to sleep around 10, and so we get a little more sleep and feel better rested for the nighttime feedings. 

There is not much new around here.  The babies are definitely changing and developing.  Benjamin is smiling more (mostly at people who aren't me, which is a little tough for me), and both babies are making more verbal sounds.  They are also tolerating time awake and not being held better.  Asher is generally happy to just be on his own, looking around, waving his arms and legs.  Benjamin is less interested in being left alone, but he will now do it for small periods of time, where before he would insist on being held. 

I am having some trouble with Asher.  In the past couple of days it seems he is eating much less.  He will latch on and nurse enthusiastically for a short period of time, then pull off and cry, and then not go back to nursing.  He also won't really eat from a bottle.  I am worried he isn't getting enough to eat, although he continues to have wet and dirty diapers.  I called the doctor, and one of the pediatricians from the practice called me back and said it is probably acid reflux... which I don't agree with.  I am not sure what the problem is, and whether a visit to the pediatrician will help.  I am waiting to hear from the lactation consultant about what she thinks.  Ben is barely nursing at all, he loses the latch and milk dribbles all over him, and me...  In the meantime, I am having a hard time managing my milk and am leaking everywhere!  It's times like this that make formula and bottles appealing.

But the boys are adorable!  Here is Asher:
And here is Benjamin:
Delicious babies!