Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is insomnia inherited?

It seems that my Benjamin is having some trouble sleeping.  I have never been a great sleeper, and maybe he got this from me... but we have been having issues!  He is skipping naps, and is then so tired that he can barely stand up-- seriously, he loses his balance and falls over.  Then he will lie on the floor and put his head down, but then try to bounce back.  After all this, and fussing and whining, when it is time for nap or bed, he will sit in his crib and cry and complain.  It's so frustrating for me, because I know he needs his rest, and there's nothing I can do.  If we try to let him "cry it out," he doesn't fall asleep.  We go in and check on him, and soothe him, but as soon as we leave, he goes right back to fussing and crying.  I nurse him, I rock him... nothing.  I worry, will not resting hurt his development?  He is usually such a happy, easy-going boy, and no naps make him a sad boy.  I hope this is just a phase that will be over quickly.  He is such an angel, and I want my happy boy back!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ahhh... Spring!

Lovely family portrait: Asher about to fall on his head, and Benjamin picking his nose with his toe
Slightly better.
Yay! Ducks!
Handsome Bear
Boys on the run
My friend Kelly playing with the boys

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Marathon Monday & Passover

The boys waiting for the runners to pass
Eric and I bravely decided to take our boys up to Wellesley, Massachusetts for Passover.  We drove up on Sunday and back on Tuesday... a lot of driving for a short visit!  But we made good use of our time-- on Monday morning, after the boys staged a nap boycott, we went to watch the elite men and women runners.  Wellesley is about the halfway point of the marathon, and we saw some very fast people race right by us.  I tried to get the boys to cheer, but Asher just looked a little confused, and Benjamin got upset at all the noise.
My sister and cousins waiting for the runners
It was sunny and a little chilly, which I think probably made the runners happy.  It was exciting to watch the marathon, and I was just so impressed by the level of physical fitness the runners have!

We went back to my cousin's house, where we were staying, and the boys had afternoon naps while the rest of us got ready for the Passover seder.  Although the boys were around for Passover last year, this really felt like their first Passover.
Passover 2010- the boys were 3 days old, wearing preemie-size pajamas
Passover 2011- wide awake and ready to eat!
I dressed them in button-down shirts and Asher had khakis on-- he and my dad were actually dressed like twins!  They were walking all over the place and looked like boys, not so much like babies.  I had them try all the traditional Passover foods: matzo (yes), gefilte fish (no), matzo ball (yes), charoset (no).
Playing "yank the yarmulke"
Their patience ran out a short way into the seder, so we got them into bed and then tried to enjoy our dinner.  So far we have managed to keep Passover, which is tough since so much of what they eat is usually bread or crackers.  I am substituting matzo everywhere, and just hoping they don't end up constipated!

This very short week has been exhausting; after a 7+ hour trip coming back from Wellesley (we lost my cousin's husband at a rest area), we hosted a small seder at our house.  We got home at 3:30 and our guests came at 5:30-- what were we thinking?!?  My mom had said she would help with food preparation but was delayed, so we were on our own... and we pulled it off.  It was the first seder and holiday meal I hosted in my own home, and it gave me an opportunity to use my wedding china.
A tired Benjamin talking to great-grandpa David
This Passover was certainly a shift in the generations.  My grandparents are no longer the hosts and leaders.  The younger generation is starting to become more active in hosting, and it makes me hopeful that the relationships I have with my cousins, and our closeness as a family, will continue beyond my generation, down to our children.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

marriage and the mom of multiples

I remember before Eric and I married, my mom and I were talking about marriage and my mom said, "Getting married is the easy part, it's when you have kids that everything changes."

Well, that's an understatement.  When you have one baby at a time, everything changes.  All of a sudden, the focus shifts from spouse to baby.  Where the priority used to be on the marital relationship, it's now on the child.  And it takes a secure relationship to handle that.  You're tired, your life has changed in the blink of an eye, and nothing seems to be going the right way.  It's so easy to take your frustration out on your partner.  Spouses feel left out and unwanted.

Ok, and that's with one baby.  Now think about with two.  I won't say that it's twice the work, but it's certainly more work than with one.  At night, we both got up at every feeding, so we both got to be sleep-deprived.  Eric was very involved, but in the beginning, I had a lot of resentment toward him.  During the day, he would get up and go to work (in the basement, in this house!) and actually work.  There were moments where both boys would be crying, and I couldn't handle it, and he was still working.  I felt like I couldn't do it, and he was working.  I sat on the couch and cried with a crying baby on each side of me, and he worked.  I couldn't tell him exactly how helpless and inadequate I was feeling, so my frustration would come out in bits and pieces of anger and nastiness.

One day I realized we were constantly picking on each other.  I would walk around all day with a list of resentments in my head-- "I did this, he didn't do that, I had to do this other thing, and he didn't even THINK to help with that other thing..."and at night I would snap at him.  I remember telling him that I was angry with him, and that I knew he was angry with me, but that we had to get along.  That, really, we had no one but each other, and we had to remember we were on the same team.  At that point, I am not sure that we actually liked each other very much, but it broke the tension.  My anger and resentment has not been as strong since that point, and I make an effort to let Eric know when something is a problem before it builds up like that again.

Eric and I are both lucky enough to come from intact families; his parents have been married 36 years and mine have been married 34.  His living grandparents have been married over 60 years, and both sets of mine have been married over 65 years.  We have wonderful examples of how to handle conflict and be respectful in a relationship, and wonderful examples of how to be loving and show affection.  Eric and I are both educated (hell, I am a relationship therapist!), and had been together for 6 years, and married almost 4, when our boys were born.  We had a solid foundation in our relationship.  Yet, having infant twins put a great deal of stress on our relationship, and I know from my perspective, it was the toughest time we've ever had.  I know that for people who are less mature, have more money concerns, fewer communication skills, having twins (or more) can break a relationship.  Divorce rates in families of multiples can be two to three times higher than in families without.

Fortunately, I think Eric and I made it through the worst of it.  We are so lucky to have enough money to live comfortably, and family nearby for support, because I think that lightens the load.  We are also lucky to have two happy, healthy children who are very low-maintenance as far as toddlers go!  We are getting our rest, we eat well, and we make time to enjoy all that we can.  There are still certain parts of our marital relationship that get short shrift... but in general, we are faring better than in those early months.

It's yet another side effect of having twins-- along with a high-risk pregnancy, you have a high-risk marriage.  Just like the pregnancy requires extra care and check-ups, so does your marriage.  It is so easy to lose sight of the marital relationship after children arrive, but it's so necessary to remember that a loving relationship between spouses forms the foundation for a loving family.

Monday, April 11, 2011

a beautiful day in the neighborhood

The boys in their wagon yesterday, which was not as beautiful
Today we had some beautiful weather.  I wanted to do a million things outside, but naps got in the way.  Why, when the weather is lousy and we're stuck inside, does it seem like naps go poorly?  And when it is beautiful and we can do so much outside do they sleep so well?

Fortunately, both guys woke up by 4 and we went on a jog/walk with our neighbors, Amy and Paden.  We then stopped at the park to play on the swings, but really, it is very difficult to take two energetic boys who like to eat wood chips to the park by myself, so our time there was short.  But on our way out, we ran into other neighbors and friends, who walked us home.  On our street, we talked to even more neighbors, who were happy to see our boys and how big they've grown.  And our next-door neighbors, with whom we share a wall, gave us some spicy Thai salad for dinner.  It is days like today that I love living in the suburbs, in a neighborhood.  I love all the families nearby, and feeling like people are keeping an eye out for us and our boys.
The boys having fun at the park

Yesterday was my birthday, and I enjoyed having my family around.  We went to the park yesterday, too, and the boys played all over everything, which led to very good naps in the afternoon. We didn't do anything big yesterday to celebrate, but did go to a very nice dinner out on Saturday night.  After all that food on Saturday, we decided to take it easy on Sunday, and after Passover we're going to celebrate with pasta and cake.  Birthdays are so different as a parent of young children; even though it was my birthday, my focus was completely on them.

In other celebratory news, today is the 7th anniversary of my first date with Eric.  I sure hope he isn't regretting his decision to ask me out on a second date... Who could have imagined, all those years ago, that we would end up here?  I know I am still surprised that I am the mother of twin boys!
We collapsed the exersaucer to put it away-- all of a sudden, it's their favorite toy!

And, for even more celebrating-- tomorrow is Eric's birthday!  I have to work until late, but hopefully we will celebrate after I'm home.  Birthday season is in full swing here, and even I am getting tired of birthday cake!

Monday, April 4, 2011

12 month well visit

This morning the boys had their 12 month well visit at their new pediatrician.  I definitely like their new doctor better than their old doctor; he spent about 45 minutes with us, checking them out, and asking detailed questions about their development.

Asher weighed in at 20 pounds and 10 ounces, was 30 1/4 inches tall, and has a small head (I can't remember the actual circumference, but it was in the 3-10th percentile).  Benjamin weighed 20 pounds and 9 ounces, and was 28 inches tall.  He has a big head (75th percentile).  The nurse actually measured Benjamin first and commented that he would be so smart because of his big head... she made no comments about Asher's potential lack of intelligence from his tiny head, though!

The doctor said that they both look great.  They are both walking, so he did not have any concerns about their gross motor development, and said that the seem very social and friendly.  I liked hearing that, since I am social, and have tried to socialize them with other babies, and by taking them out all the time.  So I guess it worked!  It is nice to be relieved of mommy concerns for a day-- it kind of reminds me of when I was pregnant and the day of an appointment, after being reassured that everything looked perfect, I would feel relief for about a day before anxiety would set in again.

The boys did get shots for chicken pox and polio, and I'm not sure who has a more difficult time with it-- them or me!  I swear to you that I can feel my heart breaking when they cry.  But of course they recovered quickly and were back to tearing apart the exam room within minutes.

We had a pretty good day otherwise, but did have a funny incident.  I went to the grocery store with the boys to buy some Passover supplies.  Usually my mom does this, but she's in Paris right now, and I was worried that they would be sold out of the things we like by the time she got home.  Eric and I don't keep kosher in the least, but I do try to keep Passover (or a version of it, I eat peanut butter because I honestly don't see how a peanut resembles bread).  I was wandering the edges of the store before going down the Kosher aisle, and stopped at the meats to see what was on sale.  I saw some chicken, and then a huge pork shoulder on sale.  I thought, Eric loves pulled pork, perfect! and picked up a pork shoulder.  Then I went down the Kosher aisle, and ran into an old friend of my mom's... and stood in the kosher aisle chatting with a gigantic piece of pork in my cart.  Oh, I am so embarrassed!  Hopefully the boys were so adorable that they distracted her, and she didn't notice.  It's not so much that people would know I eat pork, because that is not a big deal, but more that I would take a huge piece of pig down the Kosher aisle... thoughtless!

After dinner tonight we took the boys on a walk to the park, and Eric took some cute photos of them playing which he has since lost, so tonight's post has to be photo-less.  We'll have to go back to the park for a redo sometime soon!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

the simple things

Today was a wonderful day.  We had nothing planned, and we didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but the ordinariness was part of what was wonderful.

The boys woke up early, and I played with them while Eric tried to sleep in.  I made us coffee and challah french toast, and we all had breakfast together (coffee was just for Eric and me, of course!).  I put blueberry compote on the boys' French toast and they were both purple at the end of the meal!  We played a little more, and then they went down for their naps.
Benjamin and his blueberry goatee

While they napped I made a red velvet cake for my friend's birthday party, which is tomorrow, and when the boys woke up, we all went out for a family jog.  Oh, I should mention that I got an early birthday gift last week-- a double jog stroller!  I haven't been keeping up with my jogging, and jogging while pushing about 40 pounds (or more) of baby is even more difficult!  So I was not impressed with my level of physical fitness, but we had a good time exercising together.  Even Eric liked it, and he usually hates jogging with me!
Asher practicing his gymnastics under the table

We came home for lunch, and then it was afternoon nap time.  Nap time wasn't a huge success, but after naps they were in pretty good moods.  I talked Eric into going shopping with the babies and me, but as soon as he agreed, i decided I didn't want to go!  We were having too much fun at home, and the boys were having a great time chasing each other around the house.

I told Eric he had to hang out with us-- he loves his work and will work any day, anytime if he's allowed-- and so he stayed on the 1st floor for longer than I think he has in weeks!  His time on the 1st floor motivated him to clean and organize, and so he went on a rampage around the 1st floor, putting things away, throwing out old shopping lists and things that I had left lying around.

At 5:15, my dad came over and took the boys for a walk while Eric and I made dinner.  My dad took them to the play ground, and they had a good time on the swings.  In the 45 minutes my dad was gone, we managed to cook a meal, and Eric finished cleaning and vacuuming the first floor.  We had dinner with my dad, and the boys ate all the same food that the adults did-- chicken with an apricot-mustard glaze, risotto with lemon and peas, and string beans.  Asher has started pointing at his sippy when he wants it, and they are doing well drinking their milk.

We tried taking a shower instead of a bath tonight, which Benjamin hated, but Asher tolerated.  I loved holding them in my arms, though.  I nursed Asher first, and Eric read Benjamin "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" in the nursery.  Both boys went down without a peep, and Eric and I watched a movie together in a quiet, clean house.

It is days like these that make me feel so thankful for the life we have.  As I type about our day, I can see that to others, it might not seem like anything special.  But to me, it is the kind of day I want to remember forever, the kind of day that passes too quickly.  Our time together as a family is wonderful, there is so much love and so much laughter; I hope our lives are filled with it forever.