Monday, January 31, 2011

Enough, already!

The boys checking out our surprise one foot of snow
Ok, I love the snow.  I love watching it fall, I love seeing it on the trees, and I love sledding.  But I think I am done with winter.  In this month alone, Asher has had pink eye, I have had strep, and now Asher has diarrhea and I have a cold.  The only positive in our current situation is that my nose is so stuffed up that I can't smell Asher's stinky diapers!

We have been making play dates with our neighborhood friends when the weather is bad so that I get some adult company.  But I have had to cancel clients at work a couple of times because of the weather, and I feel like a flake when I do it.  It is hard to get really engaged with my work when the days I'm there are so sporadic.

The weekend was not so wonderful.  We had a birthday party to attend on Saturday, and I had written on my calendar: "Nate's b-day party: 12-2."  Apparently, I am a fiction writer.  The party was from 10-12, so when we arrived to the party location shortly after noon, the party was over!  We missed the WHOLE thing.  I can't tell you how upset I was.  I was upset because it was Nate's 3rd birthday, and we had missed his first birthday when he was sick, his second when I was on bed rest, and now his 3rd because I am a pea-brained dope.  Fortunately, Nate's mom (and my friend), Molly, invited us over to their house to hang out, so we had lunch there and saw the birthday boy (who was too busy playing with friends to notice us!).  It was nice to see everyone, but I felt so awful for missing the whole party.
Benjamin "Could He Possibly Be Any Cuter?!?" Bunny

Saturday night I began to feel like I was getting a cold.  That is the worst feeling, knowing you are getting sick and there's nothing you can do about it.  We went out for Vietnamese food with my parents after the boys went to bed; we had our neighbor's son come to babysit and he seemed to handle the babies well.  It was a fairly short evening out, since we left at 7 and had to be home at 9:30.

On Sunday, Eric wanted to go to Ikea, and I told him we should take the boys since we had a good time there the last time we went.  Ikea was fine, but we went in separate cars so Eric could run errands afterward, and I could take the boys home for naptime.  I left Ikea much later than their naptime, figuring they would sleep in the car, and I would just get them in their cribs once we got home.
Asher tried to get his own puffs... as a reward Daddy fed him on the floor!

Unfortunately, that is not how it worked.  They did fall fast asleep in the car, but when I got home, there were no parking spots in front of our house, so I went to park around the corner... and got stuck in a snow bank!  Eric was not around, our neighbor Tom wasn't answering his phone... I stopped some poor stranger in the street and he was nice enough to help dig me out, which took forever.  The boys slept through the whole thing!  Since I couldn't park at our house, I drove to my parents', hoping the boys would sleep there, but they apparently didn't get the memo, because Benjamin woke as I carried him in the door, and his cries woke Asher.  So there I was, in my parents' non-baby-proofed house, chasing two babies around the whole downstairs.  They ate sea shells, poured water from the cats' dish on to themselves, and tried to eat kitty kibble.  Eric drove home, and then dug out a parking spot for me, so after about an hour at my parents' house, I packed the boys up and went home.  Eric and I tried to get them down for Naps, Round 2, but it was a no-go.  I could not WAIT for bed time!

The weekend was far more tiring than I would have hoped.  This coming weekend we have plans to go to our neighbors' house on the Jersey shore, and that should be a nice, quiet, and relaxing weekend.  We will hang out, cook and eat, and take care of our babies.  I am excited to have Eric around, not working, not running errands.

But, I'm done.  I'm done being sick, I am done trying to navigate the snow and lousy weather with my two little boys, and I'm tired of being tired.  I know winter can't go on forever... but I sure could use a vacation!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy 10 months to my boys!

"Playing" with toys
I can't believe my guys are 10 months old already!  I am starting to think about their 1st birthday party, which is crazy.  I can't believe how quickly these past 10 months have gone by, and every time I look at my big boys, I can't imagine that they were ever those itty bitty babies I gave birth to.

Lately they have been sleeping really well, at a minimum they go 10 hours (7 pm - 5 am), but they often go 11-12 hours, which is very restful for their parents!  They are getting 3 meals a day, and seem to enjoy solids and table foods.  They are still nursing frequently, but not for as long.  I am dreading the end of breastfeeding, I really love that time I have with them.

They are working on standing independently, and have each done it for a few seconds at a time, but not with regularity.  Benjamin started trying it in the bathtub, which makes me really nervous!

Asher has 6 teeth, and Benjamin is getting his top 2 teeth in, for a total of 4.  We don't have a scale, so I am not sure what they weigh, but I do think they are growing, as there are clothes that no longer fit them.    In general, they are easy-going, playful, and cheerful boys, and I feel lucky to have gotten two babies with such good temperaments.

The other day, we had our first, "Gee, it sounds awfully quiet..." moment.  Asher had gotten ahold of the box of tissues, pulled them all out of the box, and eaten some of them!  Here he is, trying to run from the scene of the crime:
And Benjamin going to inspect the damage:
It could have been a lot worse!  But really, nothing is safe.  One day I came into the room, they had grabbed the phone and I heard someone saying, "Hello? Hello?"  I have NO idea who they called, but I hung up quickly.  I am dreading their first 911 call.

Everyday here is an adventure, a vast difference from one year ago, when I was on strict bed rest, in bed all day.  At times I miss the quiet, the time to watch my crappy TV shows or catch up on email... but I am only too happy to spend time with my perfect boys.  I could never have imagined what this life would be like, but we are having so much fun.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Advice for moms-to-be

A gratuitous picture of Benjamin's perfect face
I have had a few thought recently about things I wish I knew before I had babies/before I registered for baby things.

1) Do not buy an expensive crib.  We didn't go top-of-the line, but we paid more than Ikea/Target prices, and it's not worth it.  The cribs look lovely.  They are sturdy.  And I hope they are safe.  But, both boys have taken to teething on the rails of the crib.  Every time I go to get them after a nap, they have bits of finish from the crib around their mouths (I am praying it's non-toxic!).  The cribs look like a woodchuck slept in them.  Not worth the money!

2) Do not buy expensive crib bedding sets.  You won't use the bumpers much, you won't use the quilt at all, and the baby will spit up all over the sheet.
Asher eating his book

3) Don't worry about toys.  My guys have tons of toys, and they couldn't be bothered with their real toys.  They like measuring cups, tupperware, pulling books off of shelves, eating books, and whatever object the other one is holding.

4) A video monitor might actually be a good idea.  My thought was, our house is small, I'll hear them, I can get to them quickly... And when they were small and not really moving within their cribs, sound was fine.  But now that they move around and play in their cribs (and teethe ON the crib), I wish I could get a glimpse of what they are up to before I go in.  Especially because we sometimes let them cry a little during nap time if they haven't napped long enough.  Recently, Benjamin has managed to get his limbs stuck between the slats of the crib.  And when I say stuck, I mean stuck-- I had a hard time getting his knee out, and it left him with a big bruise!  A video monitor would help to know when I need to get there in a hurry, and when they are likely to settle back down.  I don't think video is great if you are going to stay up all night watching to make sure your child is breathing, but at this point, if I could switch it on and see what they were up to, it would be helpful!

I know there are other tips, but these are the ones that are on my mind right now.  I'll post more as they come to me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Big Saturday Night

Tonight Eric and I took the boys out to dinner.  We have taken them out to dinner once before, with my parents.  Tonight it was just the four of us.  In a way, it is silly that we haven't done this before.  I think a big part of why we haven't is because we don't eat dinner out much in the first place, unless it is for a special occasion.  And special occasion restaurants are no place for babies, so we have been out without them a few times.  Eric and I both love to cook, so we eat at home (or with my parents) almost every night. Tonight my parents were out of town, and neither one of us felt like cooking, so out we went.
Benjamin looking serious

We went to a local restaurant that is very family-friendly and got there around 5:45.  I came supplied with Mum-Mums (which I only just bought after another twin mommy shared hers with my guys while we were out at brunch), sippy cups, bibs, and toys.  Benjamin is currently going through a measuring cup phase, and carries a black measuring cup with him almost all the time (this includes naps), so he played with his measuring cup throughout dinner.

I ordered well-steamed broccoli and macaroni and cheese for the boys.  I ordered salmon for myself, with a side of whipped sweet potatoes.  The waiter was very nice and brought the boys' food first, but he obviously does not have kids because he also brought appetizer-sized plates for them.  Which Asher was ready to fling on to the floor!  Asher is very interested in grabbing things, and his reach is much longer than I would have thought possible for someone so small, so everything had to be crammed into a line down the center of the table and away from little hands.

Both Asher and Benjamin liked their broccoli and LOVED their macaroni and cheese.  Asher could not cram the mac and cheese in fast enough!  He was double-fisting the pasta, so something tells me there will be a lot more macaroni and cheese here in the future.  I remembered that in my first trimester macaroni and cheese was one of the only foods I felt like eating, so I guess it is somewhere deep down in their brains to like it.
Asher and his sippy

For dessert they had whipped sweet potatoes, which Asher was ecstatic about.  He started singing and getting very excited!  Benjamin was more subdued all around tonight, but he did spend some time making eyes at a woman in the booth next to us, who thought he was adorable.  We noticed that no one choose to sit too close to us, but the woman in the booth commented multiple times that they were so quiet and well-behaved.  Another mommy who was there with a little girl said, "Bless you for being brave enough to bring them out!"  My philosophy is that we might as well get them accustomed to it so that they learn how to behave, rather than have them be terrors when they are a little older.

Eric seemed impressed at how smoothly the evening went.  I wasn't too surprised, since I go out with them more frequently than he does, but I was glad that they didn't bother the other diners.  I like getting compliments on my boys, so I was happy that they made a good impression.

Then it was home and to bed for them, and on to the couch with crap TV for me (and work for Eric).  Another thrillingly exciting Saturday night for us.  It's a far cry from bar-hopping or nights out on the town, but I love it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I have been sick!

I have not really taken any pictures this past week.  It wasn't a great week, really.  I had a job interview on Monday, which was fine, and went well, and then I woke up on Tuesday feeling lousy, but since it is the day I work, I decided I would go to work.  My schedule was to be there 12-7, with clients every hour.  I told Eric I didn't feel well, and that my throat hurt, and he said, "I've heard that before.  You're always complaining your throat feels scratchy." (This is not true.  I said it while we were in Maine, but I never got sick, and I never acted like I was sick to get out of doing anything.)

I took plenty of Advil, packed tea and honey, and drove down to work.  There was snow predicted for the evening, but I didn't think it would start much before I needed to drive home.  I think I definitely had a bit of a fever-- I got there and I was freezing, then I was sweating, then freezing despite the fact that my clients were looking overheated...  Then I wanted to pump, as I always do mid-afternoon when I am working.  I got all ready to pump, but-- no pump parts!  So I couldn't pump.  In a panic I called Eric and asked him what I should do (why ask him, it is not like he's lactating!).  I was already getting uncomfortable.  He suggested I call my last 2 clients of the day to cancel our appointments.  Given that I felt sick, and couldn't pump, and it would maybe start snowing... I did it.  It is lost money for us, but it had to be done.  I blamed it on the weather.

When I got home, the underwires of my bra were about a 1/2 inch off my ribcage, and my breasts were coming out the neck of my shirt.  So it was probably better that I wasn't seeing clients like that!  I definitely felt sick, and left the bedtime routine in Eric's, and his co-worker Alyssa's, hands.

Wednesday morning I felt even worse.  I asked Eric if he could take some time off of work to take care of the boys because I felt so lousy, and he said no, he had a busy day.  Then I kind of wished we were childless for a day so that I could just stay in bed, I felt achey and feverish.  I had been thinking I was getting a cold, but colds don't come with fevers and without runny noses or sneezing.  I ended up calling my doctor and getting an appointment for 1:30 pm.  Thankfully my mom was free, and she came over after the boys got up from their morning nap and took care of them while I lay around and then went to the doctor.  Turns out I had strep throat, and a fever of 102 (this makes me think my thermometer is broken, since it said my temperature was 100.5).  All I can say is, thank goodness for antibiotics, and I don't know what people did before them.  I was so happy to get a prescription, and fill it.

By Thursday morning I felt somewhat better, but still very tired.  My mom came over again to help (so thank goodness for my mom and dad who both helped me out, I don't know how people who don't have family nearby manage with their little ones when they get sick), which kind of got me through the worst of it.  By Thursday afternoon I was feeling well enough to have cabin fever and want to get out of the house!  So we took the boys out for a frozen yogurt (yes, it was 32 degrees outside) and I bought groceries and cooked some dinner for us.

My doctor had said to stay home, or away from my friends and their children, for 48 hours.  This really stunk because our playgroup meets Friday mornings, and we had to skip it.  Around 11 am, after the boys had taken a bad morning nap, I told Eric I wanted his company because I was going to lose it.  He said he had a busy day... but was going to lunch with our neighbor!  We had a debate about it, and I suggested that Eric bring the boys and me to lunch, but it seemed like our neighbor wanted "man time."

So I stayed home and gave the boys lunch, including their first taste of salmon.  Salmon is the first food I have given them that I can definitively say they hated.  Asher took a taste, made a face, and then stuck his tongue out, with salmon still on it, and waited for all the salmon bits to fall off.  Benjamin just screamed, and cried, with big tears running down his face, and I had to reach in his mouth and pull the salmon bits out, because he wouldn't chew or swallow it.  It was really sad to see.  He recovered well with some applesauce, though.

This afternoon my sister came to town, and tonight we had a lovely dinner with my parents, sister, Aunt Jane, and Jane's friend Anne.  The food was good, the boys were in bed, and the adults had a good time laughing.  I am feeling almost like my old self, so that part is also good.  And I'm looking forward to the weekend-- my sister and I plan to have manicures and pedicures on Sunday!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow babies!

Benjamin checking out the fresh snow

We woke up on Saturday to some surprise snow.  I have been dying to go sledding ever since the big storm that we got in December of 2009 when I had just been placed on bed rest.  I love sledding, and when I think about it, I am not sure the last time I went... maybe college?

We don't have a sled (hint to grandparents for Hanukkah or Christmas of 2011-- sleds!), so we called our neighbors, who are actually the people from whom we bought our house, and asked to borrow one of theirs.  They have 4 children, so I figured odds were in our favor that they had one.  Not only did they have a nice orange saucer we could borrow, their oldest son gave me a tip that all the little kids go sledding at a park a little farther away than the big kid hill.

Meema Alison and I put the baby in their giant snowsuits and walked to the park.  It was a pretty shallow hill, that ends in a big playing field.  There were no trees or creeks or anything dangerous to run into, so that made me feel good.  The only other people sledding there were little girls, about 3 or 4 years old.  Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Meema Alison with a happy Benjamin
Pushing off at the top with a somewhat wary Asher

Benjamin on his second trip down
Asher trying out crawling in the snow
They didn't seem to love it, and they didn't seem to hate it.  I'll take that!  After the sledding adventure they took great naps, and I had a quiet afternoon.  

My big mistake yesterday-- watching "Black Swan" before bed.  I was up for hours with images and thoughts about it running through my mind.  My advice if you are planning to see the movie-- don't see it at night and don't see it alone!  So tonight will be an early night for me to make up for that lost sleep. The boys are doing really well with their sleeping, so I have only myself to blame.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some thoughts on having infant twins

Benjamin at play group today
Tonight, as I was nursing my boys before bed, I started to think about how difficult those early days with them were.  To some degree, I don't remember how bad things were, or how tired we were.  I remember that I told Eric that I never again wanted to hear the sound of his alarm that we used the first 2 weeks to wake us for feedings!  I don't remember how much breast feeding hurt, fortunately.

Looking back, I am happy with the way we did things.  I am happy that I decided to breastfeed, and kept it up even though there were days it was so difficult.  I am glad that I kept trying to nurse Benjamin, even though his latch was awful for months and left my nipples bruised, because now he is a wonderful nurser and my life is so easy, just breastfeeding and not dealing with bottles or constant pumping.

On one of the message boards I visit, a newer mom of twins was asking about following schedules, doing sleep training, and letting the babies cry.  In the first few months, I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child," Ferber, and "Babywise."  None of them seemed to speak to me, or to have the right answers for our family.  I was not ready to feed them on a schedule, not just because I was not sure what they were getting from nursing, but also because I could not see the point of denying my children food if they were hungry, regardless of how little time had passed since the last feeding.  Yes, this meant I spent entire days with my breasts out, either nursing or pumping, but so be it.

We did not have a nap schedule until they were 5 months old.  At first it was fine, they slept anytime anywhere, but then it became problematic as they got more interested in the world around them and would keep themselves awake to participate.  Now that we have a schedule, life is so much easier, of course, but I am not sure that I could have forced them to sit in their cribs and cry when they were younger than 5 months.

My advice to moms of twins (or any mom) is to do what feels right to you.  Benjamin needed almost constant holding in those first few months, and so we did what we could to meet his needs.  I hired a mothers helper to come some mornings so that she could hold him while I did things like shower, or eat. He only napped in people's arms, so we held him while he slept.  I remember the first time we were able to put him down, awake, for 15 minutes straight without him crying-- it was like a miracle!  Despite how hard it was to hold him all the time AND take care of Asher, while breast feeding them both and pumping several times a day, it was worth it.  Now Benjamin is a cheerful, independent, trusting baby.  In large part, I think this is because we gave him all the love and reassurance he needed in those early months.  And I think that if we were following someone else's rules, or someone else's schedule, it would not have met his needs in the same way.  Not that he would have turned into an unhappy grouch, but instead we now have a sweet, giggly boy who is happy to explore and play on his own, knowing his mommy is there for him when he needs it.

Having twin infants is HARD.  There were so many days where I would fantasize about how easy my life would be if I only had one baby, particularly Asher.  I wouldn't have to pump, I wouldn't have to be holding a baby every minute, and we could have been sleeping through the night sooner (or at least more consistently).  In a lot of ways, we were pretty lucky because neither one of the boys had any serious problems like acid reflux or allergies, and they both took to breastfeeding.  Sometimes I think I had it easier with my two than a lot of people do with only one, if that one is colicky.
Us with some of our play group friends and mommies

But now that I have twin 9 month olds, I definitely think it is easier to have two (most of the time).  They have grown into independent babies who can play together and entertain themselves, and are not dependent on me every waking minute.  And they love each other.  When it is nap time, they often stand up in their cribs and laugh at each other for about 20 minutes before settling down to sleep.  This morning, I woke Asher up and we were in the hallway when Benjamin started babbling to Eric in the other room.  Asher squealed with happiness and started kicking his legs-- he couldn't wait to see Benjamin!  Once they were together, Benjamin began giggling at Asher, and of course Eric and I laughed along with them.   I am so thankful that my boys each have a best friend, and that they are already enjoying each other.
Some of the play group madness-- today we had 3 sets of twins in the group!

There is a lot more to say on other topics today... It was an eventful day!  But I will end by saying that today Asher stood on his own for a few seconds AND made his first sick visit to the pediatrician with pink eye in both his eyes!  Never a dull moment, I guess!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a short update

Benjamin driving while talking on his cell phone
It has been a while since I updated about what the boys are doing in terms of skills and development.  Right now, Asher has 5 teeth, and Benjamin still has 2.  They are showing a great deal of interest in table food, and in general, we let them have tastes of pretty much anything.  They have had falafel, hummus and pita, brie, crackers, bits of meat and fish, all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and various sweets (maybe I am a bad mom, but Eric and I eat dessert pretty much every day, and do a lot of baking, so there is always something around!).  Sometimes I match their meal to mine, so for breakfast the other day we all had oatmeal with cinnamon and bananas, other times they have English muffin, or grilled cheese at lunch.
Asher trying some roast chicken

They are both doing a lot more babbling.  I was a little worried that their verbal development was kind of lagging because they are so focused on doing physical things, but while we were in Maine Asher really got going, and just today Benjamin started up, too.  They are really starting to interact with each other, too.  When they are in their cribs for nap or bed, they often pull right up to face each other and laugh and babble.  It is really fun to listen to, and makes me wish we had a video monitor!

They are all over the place in the house.  Benjamin learned how to climb the stairs, and Asher was right behind him, so we rushed out to Babies r Us on Sunday for another gate.  Poor Peanut can't get around it, so he spends the day on one side or the other.  Fortunately, he likes sleeping so he doesn't seem too disturbed.

They are very quick crawlers.  They both pull up to standing, cruise, and transition from one piece of furniture to another.  They have started using child-size chairs as walkers, and walking behind them around the dining room.  Asher is so strong-- he will pull up on the gate or the windowsill and start doing chin-ups!  Pretty scary!  Benjamin is into climbing things.  He will look for a foothold wherever he can find it and just keep going from there.  The other day he climbed over the back of their walker and dumped himself head-first into the seat!  It was hysterical, to see his little legs waving around in the air.  And since the gate went up on the stairs, he has started trying to climb the outside of the stairs...  I am almost positive we will be on a first-name basis with the people at the ER before these guys are two years old!

We've been having an occupational therapist in for Asher's torticollis, and she has been very impressed with our boys' skills and development.  That is nice for a mommy to hear!  I am sure my guys could do anything/nothing and I would think they were the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it never hurts to hear from others that they're doing well.

In general, they are very happy, fun babies.  They light up when their grandparents come in the room, and when their nanny came on Tuesday they were so happy to see her that I was like chopped liver!  They continue to be well-loved by all their friends and family, and it is nice for me to see how much happiness they are bringing to our world.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We are home from Maine and celebrated the start of 2011 at home with friends.  Like last year, we were joined by our friends Alissa and Greg.  Since 2002, Alissa and I have spent every New Years together except for one.  We're a good fit because we both like staying in, don't like to drink much, and are happy to be in bed by 10.  And Eric and Greg are happy to play video games all night long.  So we just cook a big, delicious dinner and enjoy the company.

With all the errand-running I did, and the cooking, and the up-and-down the stairs, it was hard to believe that 1 year ago I had been house-bound and lying down all day.  And hard to believe 1 year ago I was 24 weeks pregnant.  My belly was still so small!  And I was so nervous about being at the point of viability, and grateful to have made it that far, and have gotten my steroid shots.  New Years Eve this year, I fed and bathed my two active babies, nursed them, kissed them, and put them to bed.

What an amazing year 2010 was.  I still cannot fully comprehend that my two sons are truly here with me, and that this is my life.  I think about all the possible outcomes we could have had, and feel so lucky this is how our lives turned out.  One year ago today, my wish was that things would be exactly as they are right now.

I never make new years resolutions, but my hopes for 2011 are that my boys continue to grow and thrive, that Eric and I be able to enjoy a few more dates/couples' nights than we have in the past 9 months, and that my work begin to pick up so that I can move ahead with my career.  And of course, I always hope for health and happiness for all my family, friends, and loved ones.