4 Month Twin Update

Ira & Roman are four months old today! This month they have transitioned from being two fragile-ish newborns to being two solid, roly-poly babies. Thy are bright-eyed, chatty, smiley, chubby little baby bears and I could not be loving them more!

While I'm still busy with them, I've been getting back into old routines again because they are now content to sit in their bouncy chairs or lay on the play-mat to take in the world. With my newly freed-up hands I can go back to doing things like cooking respectable meals and cleaning the bathroom beyond a quick clorox wipe down. It feels so good! I find satisfaction in cooking and baking and keeping my house; I'm very happy to be back at it again. Arie loves to join me in the kitchen- especially when chocolate chips are involved- so it has been nice for him to get back in there with me too!

The twins are sleeping great. They go to bed around 9pm now and more than half the time one of them will sleep until 6 or 7am! The other half they wake up once, usually right at 3am. Sometimes they both sleep through the night on the same night which means I get to sleep through the night too! The first time I slept through the night since they were born was when we were visiting my parents in early August. My mom told me I should lay down and take a picture with a milestone card just like I did for the boys! Ha! When the boys do get up they usually only need to be nursed and quickly go back to sleep so I feel great these days. Still tired but not exhausted anymore. The difference between getting up once at night versus twice is huge. The once-per-night wake up feels indefinitely sustainable to me with a hot cup of coffee in the morning.

To tell you the truth, a part of me cherishes those times when I can hold one of my babies close in the quiet of the nursery, rocking smoothly in our comfy chair and feeling the rise and fall of his small belly against my own. When I was pregnant another mom told me that she missed those middle-of-the-night nursing sessions. I did not understand her feelings then, but I sure do now. It's such a tender and peaceful time. While I certainly love the nights I sleep through, I don't wish away the ones when I'm up. I know they will end all too soon.

Both boys are deliriously happy in the morning. When they see me coming into the nursery their cries turn to happy shrieks and their little legs start kicking away. After I feed them, they lay on the nursing pillow cooing and smiling up at me. I swear they are almost turning me into a morning person which borders on miraculous.

I've just begun the process of getting them napping in their cribs on a schedule which I'm hoping will fall into place by the time Arie goes back to school after Labor Day. (The nap routine will have to revolve around Arie's school pick up mid-afternoon.) Ira took a two hour nap last week which was the longest daytime stretch either of them has ever done! Usually they do about 40 minutes - an hour. If you'd like to share, I'd love to hear what sort of nap schedule your 4-6 month old is/was doing!

Going to bed, the twins act as different as they look. I can usually put Roman in his crib sleepy but awake and he will just suck on his pacifier and look around until he falls asleep.

Ira, on the other hand, refuses a pacifier and will begin to cry if he even senses you are about to bend over his crib. He has to be very, very sleepy before he will relinquish his determination to stay awake and in Mama's arms. I now know exactly where every sneaky floor board is between his crib and the staircase. I have also reached ninja status in my ability to transfer him from arms to his mattress. Ninja status. 

Speaking of ninjas, Roman and Ira are both learning to use their hands. Ira still mostly bats at things and Roman has begun to grasp and feel his toys. It is almost embarrassing how exciting it is for me to watch them exploring their bodies and their worlds. I cannot tell you how many times I have interrupted my husband by saying something like, "OH MY WORD!!!!! ROMAN IS TOUCHING THE MONKEY ON THE PLAY MAT! Look John! Look! Why aren'y you looking John!!!?!? QUICK BEFORE HE MOVES HIS HAND! .... OH YOU MISSED IT! You missed it! You have to look IMMEDIATELY when I tell you! Blerg. Next time look right away."

Poor John.

Ira and Roman are both talking a ton these days! Ira has all sorts of expression in both his voice and his face. He is the most vocal one of the two. I think I am going to have a little chatter box on my hands when he learns to talk. Finally someone for my older chatter box to talk to! Or maybe they will always be trying to talk over one another. I guess we will see!

In either case, I think Roman will be a good listener. He has become a very content baby, happy to look around and take in his world. He has a softer voice, gentle and adorable as well as a burst-y happy shriek that comes out when he's really in a good mood. Between the two of them our house is brimming with happy baby noises! I've found myself singing a lot more lately and I think it's just their contagious joy catching on.

Breastfeeding continues to go well and the babies are growing. After our vacation in late July, Ira refused to take the bottle we had been offering before bed; I felt like pumping for just one bottle for Roman wasn't worth the time I was spending pumping, washing and sterilizing parts, and washing and sterilizing bottles so finally put my pump away! Both babies have been nursing well. Ira is weighing in at 13lbs even while Roman tips the scale at 15lbs 8oz! Ira's weight puts him in the 6th percentile for actual age and the 33rd percentile for adjusted age. Roman is in the 51st percentile for actual age and the 87th for adjusted! My big boy! No wonder I'm so hungry all the time.

One thing of note this month is that I think I'm starting to see the twins' eyes change color. Ira has a brown streak in the top of his right eye while the bottom of Roman's right eye is starting to look a little greenish to me. I've read that baby's eyes can change anytime in the first year. While Roman's eyes may remain blue with just a more greenish hue, my guess would be that the undoubtedly brown streak in Ira's eyes is the beginning of his changing fully brown! With how much he already looks like his big brother Arie it would be fun for them to have the same eye color too! When did your baby's eyes change color?

A few of you have asked for an update on Arie! Arie is six now and continues to be a very happy, kind, and creative little boy. His favorite things to do are art projects and playing with legos. After doing a year of developmental kindergarten last year, he will start a Montessori based kindergarten program in the fall. He is starting to read and has begun to show talents and interest in math. As a toddler he always gravitated to toys that had some kind of a puzzle or mechanical component so I can't say I'm surprised to see how much he likes math. (Although it should be interesting to see how long I can keep up with this interest- helping him with homework and such- since math was always my worst subject in school. Proudly the only second grader to never get a gold star on the math minutes "perfect score" chart.) Combining his interest in math and art I wonder if he will be an engineer when he grows up! My dad started off his career in engineering (before moving to IT) and Arie's face absolutely lit up when Grampi described the way he used to draw pictures of offices and towers and figure out how to build them. It's fun to nurture Arie's interests!

He did two weeks of Science Camp this summer along with a week of swimming lessons and two weeks of vacation. That kept him happy and occupied while I was super busy with the babies. We are closing out summer with quieter days and school will be a welcomed change by the time it gets here! Arie already chose his backpack (royal blue, emphasis on the royal) and matching lunch pail. He is nervous about the first day but since he is returning to the same school I know he will quickly adjust and remember how much he loves it! I'm excited to see how he will learn and grow this year!

Being a big brother seems to have come naturally to Arie. At first he sort of just accepted that the babies were in our lives, but once they started smiling and responding to him he began to love his big brother role a whole lot more. He likes to sing and dance in front of them to make them giggle and smile. When they cry he is the first to check if they want their pacifier or rock their bouncy chairs. He is exceptionally patient with me and John, understanding that the babies' need to nurse or have a diaper change often means he has to wait for our attention. The other day the babies both began to cry while I finished a chore in the kitchen and he offered to take over the housework to I could tend to his brothers because, "the babies need you Mom!" I'm so proud of my thoughtful little boy.

All for now!



Summer Vacation 2016!

John and I finished out the month of July by going on vacation with my family. I know going on vacation with family is not everyone's first choice when it comes time to take a holiday but 1) we really like my family and 2) having help with our infant twins was excellent. I can't imagine we would have had any down time at all between parenting our three littles if it wasn't for the aunts and uncles and grandparents!

Last summer this same group- minus Ira & Roman- went together to Tennessee for a week with the Smoky Mountains in our backyard. This year we opted for a closer yet equally magnificent backyard view by renting a cottage on Lake Huron. Of course I'm a Lake Michigan girl since I live near its shores, but Lake Huron comes in a very close second (also no offense to Lake Ontario where I grew up but you were always too dirty to swim in).
Backyard steps to the beach

Going on holiday with the twins this year was very meaningful for me. It was on our trip to Tennessee with my family last year that we shared we had been matched with a second set of embryos and were hoping to transfer early that fall. After a failed transfer and a miscarriage I was almost scared to hope for our third attempt, yet my mind would often wonder if next summer I would be vacationing with a new baby. Indeed I did- with two new babies!

My mom kept asking me sympathetically if I felt relaxed on vacation since I was so busy with my three little boys and wasn't able to go out and do too much; I replied that while no vacation was not "relaxing" for me this year, it was still so much fun! While last year summer I was able to do a lot more- not always having my arms full of babies or having to stop to nurse every couple hours- this year I was so much happier: infertility conquered and a heart brimming with pride over my three little boys.

Our cottage rental was perfect for us: with the beach in our backyard we could take trips to sit and swim and play in the sand for as long or as little as the babies would allow. No one had to wait for us to be ready to go or leave early when we needed to head back. It was just right.
Heading down to the beach with our babies! 
Must have for beaching with twins: beach tent. 
Ira's first toe-dip into Lake Huron! 
Nope. Not a fan. 
Roman's first toe dip into Lake Huron! 
Also not a fan. ;-) "OMI, WHY?!" 
Babies much prefer beach naps to swimming. ("Those waves sure sounds like the sound machine in our room...") 
We also enjoyed a few short outings to two nearby downtown areas for shopping and a splash pad.
The twins attract attention wherever we go! The woman next to me said she is a twin herself! 
Arie used his spending money to buy his cousin Lux this fox. How sweet! 

One evening we all went out to eat at a "restaurant" that easily accommodated our group's four littles: a fish and chips stand with picnic tables! Ha! We walked a few blocks for ice cream after and truly enjoyed our evening. I felt so proud of us for figuring out how to make the most of our time together. No, a sit down restaurant was not in the cards for us this year but I didn't miss it. I'm convinced that 90% of enjoying the "little years"with kids is just having realistic expectations and a positive attitude!

Mostly we enjoyed our beautiful Lake Huron view from the cottage.
I'm glad Arie chose his natural smile for this picture.

I even stayed awake late enough to join the others for a fire on our last night together! ;-)

After our week at the cottage, John and I dropped Arie off at Omi and Grampi's house for some special spoiling time (Arie was electric with excitement, practically pushing us out the door!). We carried on with the twins to Niagara-on-the-Lake which is about an hour from my parents' place and known as Ontario's wine country, brimming with vineyards and an adorable downtown area. We rented a little cottage right near the downtown.

Again, I felt so proud of us for figuring out how to enjoy this part of our vacation with three-month-old twins. We went to a winery that offered a picnic lunch in their vineyard so we could take in the whole wine-country experience without worrying if our babies cried. It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. The babies slept in the stroller while we spent some time wine tasting and picking a bottle for our picnic. When they woke up crying we made our way outside we saw the owners even put up an umbrella at our picnic table to share the babies. How kind!

Roman loves picnics!
One day we drove about 30 minutes to visit a pottery studio I had hoped to check out. We were the only customers until the very end of our visit and we were able to have a lovely chat with the potter while the babies slept in our carriers. I bought a beautiful pair of mugs and will always remember that afternoon fondly when I use them!

On a very hot afternoon we drove to Niagara Falls which is where John and I went on our honeymoon! How special to go back with our twins. I wished Arie would have been there for that part too. We walked along the overlook of the falls, took some pictures, and then because of the heat quickly found a shady park where we sipped some cold smoothies for lunch.

Our cottage was close to both a coffee shop and a pastry bakery. Since we didn't have to get up and going with Arie in the mornings, John would bring the twins to me in bed and I wold nurse them while he walked to get us coffees and breakfast. I enjoyed so much those easy mornings sipping my coffee and slowly chewing my chocolate croissant, sitting cross legged on the bed with my husband, two little babies between us full of giggles and smiles or sleep. It was so good for us to take that time to drink them in: their chubby little bodies, sparkly eyes, and gummy smiles. I know we will cherish those memories for our lifetimes.

This summer I have felt more than anything that God has been so good to us. It is true like my mom intuited that this summer has not been relaxing for me with the twins, but it has still been so good. Indeed I have my hands full, I am tired, I don't have very much "time for myself," and darn it my back hurts from nursing and carrying babies around all day long! But I would not give any of it up. I longed for these days and now that they are here I embrace them. The good parts are so very good and the hard parts are temporary. There is great pain and heartache in this world: why has God seen fit to bless me with such happiness? I cannot answer that question so instead I will choose gratitude.

For my family, my boys, my husband, this summer, and our wonderful holiday, I am thankful.

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