Twins' 10 month update

Ira and Roman are 10 months old!

If I were superstitious I'd ask you all to knock on wood as I tell you this: Ira and Roman's sleep is getting better! Our nights are not yet consistent but most nights each baby wakes fewer than two times and one of those times is right around the time I go to bed, so I'm only getting up twice most nights. Roman has even slept through the night a handful of times! We've dealt with travel, colds, ear infections, and hardcore teething this month so the fact that we are seeing improved sleep despite all those roadblocks is a very good sign to me! I am now just regular exhausted and not I-think-I-might-die exhausted.

Maybe the most relieving thing for us is that Ira has stopped doing the thing he did for months where he woke up crying every night after his first sleep cycle. Any parent knows how tired you are by the time you get to the nighttime routine for your kiddos. We would do baths, pajamas, books, nursing (for the twins), snack for Arie, teeth brushed, tucked into bed and collapse on the couch. At that point all you want is to not move your body but Ira's cry would pierce our quiet evening about 45 minutes later. I'd drag my body, which by the hurt from exhaustion, up the stairs to settle him and by the time that was done, I'd just fall in bed myself. John and I had no evening together to speak of.

However, glory be! That phase has ended. We now get all three children into bed by 7:30pm and have an evening to ourselves. Ah. It's so nice! I look forward to that time together every day!

I'm still nursing my babies to sleep and as their sleep improves despite the fact that basically every infant sleep advice article I've read says not to do this, I'm so happy I have. For one, nursing twins it is important for me to keep my milk supply up which frequent nursing does. For another, I just love it. Those quiet moments we spent snuggled close, the relaxing feeling I get when they play with my hair or stroke my skin, the way their eyes crinkle at the corners when they smile up at me... it's just the best. I'm sure they would have been sleeping better by now if I had taken a different approach but I was true to my instincts and how I want to parent my boys and feel so confident that it was the right choice for me. Even though the sleep deprivation was killer, I have no regrets.

We've made it to 10 months nursing and I am so grateful and proud! When we started our breastfeeding journey I felt daunted by the idea of doing it for an entire year. Now that milestone seems entirely within reach and my thoughts are directed more toward weaning than to nursing these days!

I often get questions about whether I'm going to do extended breastfeeding; my goal is to wean by 18 months (and earlier would be fine!) because John and I are going on a trip for our 10 year anniversary around that time. I want to be done by then both for myself and also because I want the twins to be falling asleep independently by then so my absence is not as traumatic on them. I'll start weaning after they turn one. Now that they aren't such tiny babies anymore I don't feel so desperate to not have them cry. In a few months I will be ready to help them adjust to a new normal of not nursing to sleep anymore, even if it involves comforting through some tears. If you weaned sometime between one and 18 months I'd love to hear how it went for you and any tips you may have! I'd especially be interested to hear from moms whose baby did not attach to a lovey or paci or any other comfort item which has been the case so far with Ira!

Speaking of weaning, Roman continues to eat like a champ! He has three teeth- almost four- now and loves to bite into table food! His current favorite food is watermelon.

This month we had an evaluation done on Ira because he was still not putting food in his mouth by himself (although he was eagerly accepting purees by spoon). It was an interesting issue because he could pick up table food and he would open his mouth for it if we held it up for him but he just would not do it by or for himself. The lady who came from our state's Early Intervention program agreed that he was behind on this fine motor skill but based on all the other skills he had developed (babbling, rolling, etc) she though it was just an isolated thing and with some occupational therapy work he'd quickly catch up.

Well I haven't even got the call to schedule his first occupational therapy session yet and in the last few days he's been making big strides! It started when we gave him a chunk of ham. I let him taste it and after his eyes lit up, I put it in his hand and he finally put it in HIS OWN MOUTH! Wahoo! I guess we just had to find the right taste to motivate him. Since then he's tried a handful of other foods and is quickly progressing to where he should be. I guess he just needed a little more time to catch on to this skill.

Having the lady from the Early Intervention program come to our house was pretty fun and encouraging. She said the twins are both right where they should be in terms of gross motor skills and both are advanced with speech. I'm not surprised by that. They both love to "talk!" They babble at me and at each other all day long. Ira loves to giggle at Roman and Roman is delighted by his brother's reaction!

One of their favorite "games" right now is to "fight" over spoons when they are in their highchairs. One baby offers it to the other and then they have a little tug-of-war with it, dissolving into giggles. I've tried a dozen times to get it on video but as soon as they see my phone they get get distracted and stop their game. I'll have to try get more sneaky with my recording!

This month in milestones, Ira got his first tooth (quickly followed by the second!). Both babies are getting up on their hands and knees and rocking back and forth so I am expecting them to crawl any day now. They pull to standing when we hold their hands and are super close to pulling up on furniture as well. They both love to stand and get enormous grins on their faces when they are showing off those skills!

I found month nine the easiest month with the twins so far. Physically it is hard to take them places because they are getting so heavy and the whole process of car/carseats/stroller/shopping cart etc wears me out! It's also tricky to time outings between naps, nursing sessions, and mealtimes, but as far as behavior goes, they are easy peasy. They love to be out and about! I took all three kids grocery shopping this week (Arie had a day off school) and they could not have been more content to sit in the shopping cart and look around. They even makes strangers smile as Ira shouts and giggles and Roman grins and claps his little hands together.

Their relationship with Arie evolved this past month as Arie is becoming more independent with them. If I'm out of the room I will hear him talking to the twins, narrating his antics, and doing silly things to make them laugh. It used to be that Arie's interaction with them was sort of mediated by me: either Arie getting me to answer their cries or respond to their needs or proudly getting my attention when he made them laugh, but now he is forging his own relationship with them! It is adorable. John and I talk to him about the treasure of having brothers and how they will be his forever friends when he is older. Arie loves to count how old the twins will be when he is 7, 8, 9 etc and talk about things he is going to teach them. It makes this mama's heart proud!

Our highlight this past month was taking a trip to Arizona to visit my mother-in-law! When we planned this trip John and I had a feeling it would go extremely well or be terrible for the simple reasons that we would be taking on a 2 hour time change and sharing a room at our destination.

Well, the first two nights of our trip I have to say we were thinking, "We've made a huge mistake." Between the time change and the new sleeping environment the twins slept TERRIBLY. Just awful.

There wasn't really anything we could do short of buying new flights home so John just told me, "Let's just make the best of it." And thankfully the rest of the nights went a lot better. Not great, but we did get a little sleep.

And despite our sleepy state we were able to make the best of it. We had a great time hiking a "mountain" with Arie, visiting Sedona, and enjoying a few days of sunshine. We even had the pleasure of visiting my friend Denay Miller whose blog (Where's Baby Miller) I know many of you followed as they were building their family!

Nine months turned out to be an absolutely perfect age to fly with the twins. The flights were about 3.5 hours long and the twins, who want nothing more in life than to be held, were thrilled to be in our arms for that long. They didn't really sleep too much on the flights but they dozed off long enough to keep them from being overtired. Arie though flying was, "AWESOME!" and delighted the passengers around us with his joy about both taking off and landing. I felt so proud of all three of my boys!

Well kudos to you if you've made it through my rambles. I think that's all the update I have for now. Thanks for following along!


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