My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Exiting Survival Mode

When you have a newborn (or two), every minute of every day is just about surviving.  There's a lot of flailing going on and you don't really do the kind of parenting that sets things up for long term happiness.  But that's fine.  A baby can't even begin to establish habits until around 2 months of age, so whatever you're doing to survive at first won't do any long term harm.

Life is good with a wubbanub a cool wall to look at
My girls are about 4 and a half months old now, 3 months adjusted age.  The last week or two, we've been coming out of survival mode and we're starting to attempt to set the foundations for more long term parenting habits.  I think things are going pretty well.

It's started with really working on their sleep habits.  I'm still letting them determine nap times and bedtime, but I'm much more attuned to their sleep cues now, and by really getting them down during their drowsy window, some patterns are starting to emerge.  Nap times are still kind of up in the air, but they are consistently going to sleep around 10pm.  We tried to establish bedtime at around 7 or 8pm, but they are falling asleep between 10 and 10:30 regardless of when we do the new bedtime routine, so 10:00 it is!

That works out just perfectly for our household.  K and I tend to want to go to bed around midnight, so this is giving us an hour or two to watch TV, or hang out together without us having to sacrifice a significant amount of sleep to do so.  K also has a work schedule that's totally inconsistent, and sometimes he's closing until 10pm and gets home around 10:30pm.  With the girls going to sleep between 10-10:30, if I'm having a rough night, K will be home within minutes to help out and we won't completely blow the schedule.

We've dropped the scheduled dream feeding and we're now leaving a bottle for each girl out on the counter so it's room temp whenever one of them wakes us up.  Last night, they went to sleep at 10pm and Charlotte didn't wake us up until 6am!  Unfortunately, my rock hard, soaking wet boobs woke me up at 5:30am, but woot all the same!  However, the bottles we had set out before going to bed were starting to smell funky so those were wasted.  I was pumping a nice warm bottle when K headed into the kitchen to get new bottles made up, so I was able to provide warm milk with no waiting.  He fed Charlotte, then did a dream feed for Tina (I was still pumping) and we all got back to sleep quickly and slept until 9:30am.  Holy crap on a cracker it felt good to get a long period of sleep!
Tina cares not for your "schedules"

I wish I could claim that my awesome parenting skills are to thank for this new found calmness in our household, but according to the Wonder Week app I downloaded, this is supposed to be a very easy and calm week.  In theory, next week should explode with another development leap, which leads to cranky babies, so we'll see.  Knowing that things like Wonder Weeks are happening makes you feel a lot better when all is going to shit right on schedule and you can be comforted knowing that it has nothing to do with anything you're doing, you really have no control and aren't doing anything wrong, it's just a time period that babies are scheduled to be cranky.  On the other hand, it's frustrating to know that no matter how awesome your parenting, there's not much you can do to control and prevent the cranky either.  But hopefully we're establishing some good patterns during this scheduled easy time and that will help make the next scheduled cranky time go a little easier.

A well rested baby is a happy baby
I'm really starting to feel like myself.  It's like my brain is back in my head and I'm allowed to use it again.  I'm so much busier now than I have been in the last 3 years.  With K home yesterday, I tackled a ton of little projects like changing the doorknob on the nursery door (the old one was sticking) and cutting down a huge overgrown bush in our front yard.  I've spent so much of the last 3 years either pregnant or trying to get pregnant that I've felt like this fragile little flower.  My days have been nothing but sitting in front of the computer wasting time and I've forgotten that I'm actually a very capable person who doesn't need to be handled delicately.  I reminded myself of my capabilities yesterday by tackling projects that I normally would have deferred to K and getting them done.  Ok, so I locked myself in the nursery while messing around with the doorknob, but that's neither here nor there.  The point is, I'm actually doing more with my day than entertaining myself with internet memes.  I've even turned to K a few times said "see?  I'm not lazy, I just couldn't do it before."  Honestly, I'm a little shocked myself.  I thought I was a purely lazy slob.  I guess not.  I guess I just needed someone (or 2 someones) to need me to do things to be motivated to do them.

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