12/19/16

Twins' eight month update


Today Ira & Roman are eight months old!


When they were born my mom told me the earliest one of her babies slept through the night was eight months. For that reason I have been looking forward to this age and am hoping to see some improved sleeping patterns for my two little sleep stealing monsters! I am really quite amazed that I am still alive when I think about the fact that I have been awake for eight months.

Yes Ira and Roman continue to wake up a lot. This month John and I averaged anywhere from 6-12 wake ups per night. It's brutal. Just brutal. Just last month I was celebrating three hour stretches of sleep and now those days seem so long ago. I am tired. So very tired.

Some people have asked me if we cry it out with the twins. Oh yes. I cry all the time.

;-)

No, I am too sensitive to let them cry it out.  Also I have an older son who spent his babyhood in an orphanage. It breaks my heart that I was never able to answer his baby cries, so that gives me a different perspective to what a gift it is to be able to settle my babies. Even if I sometimes wish I could exchange that gift for a slightly less frequently needed model. The twins do cry of course- being two in number with only one mom- and I do give them a chance to settle themselves which Roman will do almost every night at the *beginning* of the night, however middle of the night wake ups are another story. Only mama will do then.

Really the only truly good solution to sleep deprivation is SLEEP and a whole night of it, but in the absence of that ability I thought I would share for any other tired parents out there some coping techniques I have picked up in the last eight months:

  1. Nap. Obviously. When you can. 
  2. Coffee.
  3. Find a good show or podcast or book to watch/listen to/read when you are up. 
  4. Imagine your baby is grown and you have come back in time to see your child as an infant again. How precious and fleeting these days will one day seem! 
  5. Think about how safe you are, how cozy and warm in your house. "Comparison is the thief of joy" is true unless you are comparing yourself to those who have it worse and then it is the author of gratitude. 
  6. Talk to a mom or dad with older kids who can reassure you that you WILL sleep again. 
  7. Pray for sleep strength. I pray for sleep every night. So far that prayer has not often been answered in quite the way I would like however God does give the strength to cope with each exhausting day as it comes. (This is a spiritual truth in so many arenas, isn't it? We don't always get what we are asking for but we we are given other gifts- like strength and patience- to help us endure. I do not understand this, but I try to be grateful and trusting that this is the better thing.) 
  8. Remember that this season is just that: a season. And all seasons end. 
Who else has/had a frequently waking baby(ies)? How did you cope? 

Besides the nighttime sleeplessness, everything is awesome. 

Ira and Roman are napping on a pretty consistent schedule (8:30am, noon, and 4pm, "nighttime" being 7pm-6am). They are enjoying solids. Ira still prefers purees and while Roman still wants purees he also eats lots of table food in small bits. I give them both chopped up versions of whatever we are having for dinner. Ira mostly pushes his around his tray but Roman stuffs as much into his mouth as he can! 


I can hardly nurse them both at the same time anymore because they are so distracted by each other! They often end up crying when they reach out to feel each other's faces, poking each other in the eye or getting a finger stuck in the other's nose! Luckily they are much quicker at nursing than they used to be so while I have to feed them separately it doesn't take as long as it would have a few months ago. 

Neither have any teeth yet but they have all the tell-tale symptoms like warm rosy cheeks that come and go, lots of drooling, gumming everything, crabbiness resolved with cold teething rings and/or Advil. Teething takes FOREVER, eh?? 

Both are sitting upright on their own for a couple minutes at a time before tipping over. I am very confused about when I should take their photo with the "Sat up for the first time" milestone card because the process of learning to sit has been so gradual! Maybe when they stop tipping over? 

Both babies say "Mama" and "Dada" now although it is hard to tell if they understand that those words represent me and John. They both cry "Mama" when they are upset so maybe?? In any case it melts our hearts to hear our names on their lips! 

(Whoops guess I forgot to take Roman's "Dada" picture! Sorry John!) 

I've started taking Ira and Roman to story time at the library. They seem to like it! True to form, Ira spent the whole first session smiling at everyone while Roman just glared suspiciously around the room. Roman's resting face is quite hostile and often makes us laugh! 
Example of Roman's resting face. 

The best part of having the twins grow older has been watching their relationship with each other bloom. One of their favorite things these days is when I put them in their high chairs side-by-side so they can hold hands or facing each other so they can babble and giggle back and forth. Ira is the relational instigator, often searching for Roman's eyes and shouting for his attention. Roman has always been the more physical of the two and delights in being close to Ira, touching him and laughing when Ira rolls around on the floor and bumps into him. 

They are continue their obsession with big brother Arie. He can make them laugh like no one else can! They have taken an interest in our cat Jasper lately. They can't crawl yet so they don't go to him but when he enters the room they stop and stare for a while. 

My daily routines with the twins have gotten so much easier lately. I don't find myself rushed and panicked through every household task anymore. The twins still have fussy days where I can't seem to get anything done but mostly they give me a few stretches of play each day where I can fold a basket of laundry or mop the kitchen floor. We now have two exersaucer type contraptions which they LOVE and I LOVE because they give me some time each day to sit down and have a cup of tea while they play. Only months ago I wondered if I could ever have a quiet hot cup of tea again! Well, quiet: no, but hot, yes! Other twin moms kept telling me in the beginning, "It gets better!" and indeed it does. 

This month our highlights were getting our Christmas tree and setting it up (related, out December "lowlight" was having to take it down again last week after the needles began showering off! It has since been replaced with an artificial one), and enjoying some winter weather hikes and tobogganing with the kids. 

Our winters are very long here in West Michigan so while I'm sure it may seem weird to some to take babies out in the cold, I think it is healthy for them to get outside and get some fresh air! Even in the snow, if the sidewalks are passable I walk to the library for story time just to get them breathing some fresh air. A friend told me a Russian saying is, "There is no such thing as bad weather, only poorly dressed people." Short of frost-bite weather and rain, I think that is right. Getting outside is a priority for us and it will be an adventure to see how we manage this winter!

As Ira and Roman are growing older and their babbles get more speech-like, their actions more intentional, their emotions more uniquely expressed, I find myself getting excited for their toddlerhood. I so enjoyed Arie as a toddler! Granted I did not have him until he was two, so age one will be a new experience for me, but I look forward to doing things like playing in the sandbox or with play dough or going to the park (well, maybe. With two adults!) with them. I have so much to look forward to!  

That about sums up the last month! Oh one other highlight was being interviewed on the Mom Life Crisis podcast! My episode was released last week and you can listen to it on iTunes or here. Let me know what you think! 

Happy Christmas to you all! I am already looking forward to my next update with stories and pictures from the upcoming holidays. What a happy Christmas it will be for us this year! 

xo 

10 comments:

  1. I love reading about your family! I would suggest that the 'Sitting up for the first time' would be when they put themselves in a sitting up position for the first time!

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  2. Beautiful family! I can't believe they are still taking 3 naps for you. Both of my girls (my preemie and my full-term baby) were on a 2-nap schedule by 4-5 months of age. I would never question your mama instincts and you know them best, but it's possible that 2 naps would eventually lead to better nighttime sleep. Either way, yes, it does end eventually!

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    1. I would LOVE to drop the third nap! We skip it if they have a good afternoon nap but if they wake up before 1:30 they just can't last 5 hours until bedtime. Their max this past month has been about 3 hours but now they can do 4 hours. Hoping to drop it soon!

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  3. Five days ago we switched my, almost 9 month old, to a two nap schedule. We do the 2, 3, 4 method (1st nap, two hours after waking, 2nd nap, three hours after waking, bed time 4 hours after last nap wake time) and it has changed our lives. She used to wake every 1.5 to 2 hours all night long. She had only slept through the night twice in 8 months and finally, finally, she is sleeping through the night and has been since we switched to that schedule. It might be something to try for your guys!

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    1. I'm working to getting there! I'd love to drop the third nap. Just have to get them sleeping long enough for the afternoon nap that they can last until bedtime. You give me hope!

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  4. I love your blog! My babies took short naps and needed three naps well into nine months. :) And 8-9 months has always been the WORST time for night wakings for us. Hang in there!!

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    1. I've heard there is a sleep regression that can happen right around that time so I bet that is what you experienced! Thanks for your encouraging words!

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  5. You write such sweet updates! Thanks for sharing them with us!

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