The Silver Lining

It was a tough motherhood week last week. The boys were very busy, the girls were teething and then ill. I had to be a grown up more than I wanted to. Some days I feel like I am teaching and reteaching and then reteaching again with the kids.

It can get frustrating.

This week I made three last minute grocery store trips. Elizabeth managed to lock herself into her room, and then also managed to lock her and I into another room the next day. I still need to get to the hardware store to buy new door knobs, currently most of the doors have no knobs. . .which makes it tough to block twins from getting into off limits rooms.

Needless to say, yesterday I was tired. And I was cranky. I was looking forward to getting out on a play date with friends. And then, a crabby toddler crawled up on my lap, popped her thumb into her mouth and fell asleep.

So I sat. And I rocked her. I nuzzled her fuzzy head and told her about all of the dreams I have for her. I whispered about how I wondered how she would look. I told her how I was afraid to mother one daughter let alone two. I savored her weight in my lap, her sticky warmth. I was just present.

Later that afternoon, Elizabeth was taking a second nap (she has a cold, hence the crabbiness). Emily was restless, but not wanting to go to bed. Finally I pulled her onto my lap. She put her little head on my shoulder and we rocked. I repeated all of the things I told her sister. I nibbled her little ear. And then she fell asleep. She NEVER falls asleep on my lap.

I savored it all.

Everyone has bad days, even bad weeks. However, there is nearly always a silver lining. God gives us glimpses of the good amidst the hard times. It is funny how even a sick toddler can make my day!

Chime in! What has been your silver lining this week? Sometimes they are hard to find, sometimes easier! You know I’d love to hear from you!

My Life With Twins: Sleeping Arrangements (With Linky!)

*It was requested that I add a linky to My Life With Twins on Mondays! I think it is a great idea (thanks Kristin!) If you are a parent of multiples, feel free to write up a “My Life With Twins” post and link up! I’m working on a button too! I’d love it if you can link back here as well so all of us can connect!

One of the most cringe worthy comments someone can make to a Twin Parent is “Oh, two for the price of one!”. The well meaning commenter probably does not consider that you had to pay for two deliveries, probably were on some sort of bedrest, one or more of your babies was likely in the NICU, both children have to eat, and you have to buy two car seats at a time.

The ONE way that our girls were “two for the price of one” is with twin sleeping arrangements. At 17 months old, our girls still Co-bed.

When I was still pregnant I made the decision to buy only one crib. This was partly a financial decision–cribs can be expensive. There was also the question of space. Our nursery is not a large room, and I was not sure how I would cram two cribs in there as well as dressers, changing table, and rocker/recliner. I had read that many twins do well sleeping in the same crib for a time.

When we finally had both girls home at the same time I put them to bed together in their crib. I changed the direction that I placed the babies. When I had singletons I always treated the crib as a conventional bed and placed the baby in it as if the crib had a head and a foot like my bed. With the girls I swaddled them separately, placed them in the crib next to each other, and then tucked another receiving blanket over them, sort of “double swaddling” them.

They would often sleep as close to each other as they could be. . .and very often would be sleeping int he exact same position as her twin! For the most part they slept as well as any newborns. I cycled between wanting to keep them on the same schedule and letting each girl determine her sleep schedule. For most of the first year they tag team napped (I almost always had one baby awake or nursing) but they slept most of the same night hours together. Sometimes they would wake the other. . .or wrestle in the night, but mostly they snuggled up to each other and only one would usually wake at a time. (As a matter of fact my most stressful nights were the ones when both twins were up at once. . .it was rare!)

I love this picture of Emily, who managed to claw her way up onto Elizabeth’s chest to sleep. . .and Elizabeth only looks mildly annoyed.

At around seven or eight months old, I thought that with the girls new found mobility they would wake each other up too much to co-bed much longer. And then we went on vacation, and they spent two weeks in a pack and play. They never woke each other, even in the smaller crib, and their co-bedding relationship was cemented.

Now, at seventeen months, I think it would be cruel to separate the girls. They talk and sing each other to sleep at naptimes and at bedtime. I’ve also heard from fellow twin parents that at this age, if the twins are in separate cribs they spend much of the time trying to (and often succeeding at) getting into the other crib. We’ll likely move them into a full sized bed together when they graduate from the crib.

I strongly suspect that the girls very close bond with each other has been strengthened by sharing a bed every night. They don’t get the chance to go to bed angry at each other, and they never have that “all alone” feeling at bedtime. They also still don’t wake each other up. While they both sleep 12 hour stretches at night, on the occasion when one wakes up, she does not wake her sister. They do make sure that they wake each other up in the morning, and then give each other a big hug and kiss! These are some of the most priceless moments of twin parenthood!

Chime In! Do your multiples co-bed? For how long? Would you do things the same way if you had it to do over? You know I’d love to hear from you! 

Do you have twins, are expecting twins or know someone who is? Make sure you click on over to my “Got Twins?” page and learn more about the wonders of twindom! Lots of advice and experience from pregnancy, breast feeding and beyond!

My Life With Twins: Advice to New Mothers of Multiples

Yesterday the twins turned 10 months old. They sleep mostly through the night, they finally nap at the same time, they eat more solids and depend less on breastfeeding to meet all of their needs. In other words, they are getting to be a lot easier. I’m going to be a lot busier soon, as both girls appear to be on the verge of walking, but at the same time, I’m pretty used to keeping mobile babies entertained. This isn’t my first rodeo, you know!

A friend gave birth to her set of beautiful twin girls last Tuesday. When I went to visit her at the hospital and I saw those two tiny perfect little peanuts I gasped. They were both 6 pounds 5 ounces, a bit smaller than my Ellie was, and a bit larger than my Emmy. And yet. . . I could hardly remember my girls being quite so tiny, and quite so helpless.

So this post goes out to my friend, as she navigates these first tenuous weeks of adjusting to not one baby, but two!

  • Be gentle on yourself. A multiple pregnancy takes a lot out of you as a mom, especially near the end. Multiple deliveries are no picnic either, whether you deliver naturally, via c-section, or a combination of the two. It is likely that you lost a lot of blood, are anemic, and also very, very tired. So rest as much as you can, accept help when offered, and take things slowly.
  • Remember that babies are more important than schedules. As much as you really want to get those babies into a routine, part of that routine has to come from the babies as well. Spend the first few weeks paying attention to their hunger cues and establishing a healthy nursing relationship. It may be harder to breastfeed two, but it is not impossible, and it very well be your most time saving decision in the long run (even though it does NOT seem like it now!)
  • In these first few weeks, don’t try to keep the babies on the same schedule. If they fall into it naturally, fine (many MZ twins will naturally keep very similar schedules, DZ twins probably will not). However stressing about keeping two individuals on the same routine may end up being more work for mom in these early weeks. Personally, I relished time alone with each of the girls. I also think that they appreciate some one on one time with mom.
  • Get to know the signs of postpartum depression. Tell your family members about the signs. Tell them to tell you if you are exhibiting them. Seek help if you need it! The hormone shift after a multiple birth is extreme to say the least. Find a way to relax, be alone, and hash out your feelings. Blogging in my early days really helped. I know people thought I was crazy for writing instead of napping in those first months, but for me the writing was even more therapeutic than sleep!
  • Drink a ton of water. You need it. Your babies need it.
  • Take a bajillion photos. Write everything down. You THINK you will remember all of these crazy days. Trust me. You won’t. (oh and in those pictures, keep the babies in the same order all of the time! I still mostly have Ellie on the left and Emmy on the right!)
  • Chocolate.

So, it is time for you to chime in! What is your best piece of advice for a brand new mother of multiples? (MoM). Are you expecting twins, or more? Do you want more of my tips, or experiences? Ask away! I love to hear from you all!