“Love should be multiplied, not divided.”
Any other Sister Wives watchers out there?
To be honest, when I was pregnant I did worry that my love would have to be divided between my twins. I remember the same concern when I was pregnant with my second child, but this was different – my time actually would be divided between two babies. No matter how much I wanted to, I could only hold each one half as much. I could only kiss their cheeks or tickle their feet half as much. And therefore I could only LOVE one half as much, right?
My gosh, I think that crazy Kody Brown actually has it right on this one. I think I actually love them MORE because there are two. Last night after nursing I was holding both babies, just closing my eyes and feeling their small breath on each side of my neck and I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amount I love I have for each one. It’s true. My love isn’t split in half, it’s multiplied by two!
Nursing was great this week. They are nursing much faster now, which is nice, but obviously worries me at times (because I like to spend my time always being worried about something). I will feel much better after July 5, when I go to the doctor for their 2 month well check and can see that they are gaining weight appropriately. I’m SO GLAD I got their lip ties revised because that really was the big change that made nursing pain-free. I need to start working on a post about that experience before I forget how it all went down.
One other thing worth noting is that Mercy has started doing what I call the “boob bop.” Apparently that phrase has already been coined and it has nothing to do with breastfeeding, but it should. Basically she bops her head against my boob, on and off, on and off, taking tiny little sucks each time. I remember Abel doing this too. I spent a long time trying to force him to stay latched until I realized he’d drink more if I just let him “bop it”. It’s annoying though. Samuel doesn’t do it, and hopefully in a few weeks Mercy won’t either.
Naps started out great, but really got complicated toward the end of the week with the appearance of the 45-minute intruder for some naps. Babywise suggests treating 45-min naps as a hunger issue and feeding the baby when they wake up early, restarting the eat, wake, sleep (EWS) cycle. I tried that approach first, but it’s not as straight forward with twins because I have to balance feeding the baby that woke early with the desire to always feed both babies together. If my twins were older, I think feeding the one that woke and letting the other continue napping would make sense. The one that woke early would just have more waketime before the start of the next nap. Babies this young can become overtired so easily though – the baby that woke could not handle staying awake for long enough to put both babies down for the next nap together, so I’d end up having to stagger the start of their nap times, which would likely trigger an alternate schedule for the rest of the day. (Shoot me). So instead I decided to wake the sleeping baby and feed them both early, but neither baby ate well any of the times I tried this, which tells me that a) the baby that woke early did not wake out of hunger and b) even if the baby that woke WAS hungry, waking the other baby to feed early is an ineffective strategy.
So what’s a twin mom to do? I really don’t know the answer. For now I’ve been trying to strike a balance where I give the twin that woke ample opportunity to fall back asleep, but at some point I draw the line and feed early. Generally, if the twin that woke is crying on and off, I leave them until the end of naptime, but if they break into that super-heavy, definitely-not-falling-back-asleep cry, then I get them both up and feed them. It’s a very imperfect system. I assume there will be a lot of slugging through here until they get older and can be put on a more by-the-clock nap schedule.
Oh, one last thought on this: my babes were born at 37.5 weeks, which was full-term but technically 2.5 weeks early. I don’t know if I buy into “adjusted ages” or into the Wonder Weeks, but if both things are in fact real, the twins would have been 5 weeks old during this week, which is Mental Leap 1. I won’t waste time writing about the wonder weeks here because I find it to be mostly useless information, but it could be an explanation for the sudden appearance of short naps. I hope it’s true, because that would mean next week they’ll return to the gold-star nappers they were before.
SUUUUUUUUPER fussy, these two. I’ll leave it at that.
HALLELUJAH we’re officially down to feeding twice a night. They are waking to eat sometime between 11:30pm-12:30am and again at 3:30am. It’s amazing how much more energy I have after just dropping one feed. I didn’t feel particularly tired before, but I definitely notice a difference now. Instead of waking in the morning to the sound of crying babies needing to be fed, I’m well rested enough to wake naturally before they do. This gives me time to myself before the day begins. I’ve always cherished morning time alone and I feel much more refreshed now that it’s returned.
Take this week’s schedule with a grain of salt, because it sure had a LOT of flux to it. The only things that stayed constant from day to day were bedtime and the number of feedings per day (after dropping the 3rd night time feed). We had plenty of short EWS cycles, but there was always at least one longer cycle to draw out the day so I wasn’t actually feeding more in a 24 hour period. Weird how that worked out.
6:30am: Wake, feed
7:20am: Nap 1
9:00am: Wake, feed (for some reason this cycle was only 2.5hrs every day)
9:50am: Nap 2
12:15pm: Wake, feed
1:00pm: Nap 3
3:00pm: Wake, feed
3:45pm: Nap 4 (they are more tired in the afternoon and have a shorter waketime here)
5:30pm: Wake, feed
6:45pm: Feed, bedtime
MOTN wakings between 11:30pm-12:30am and 3:30am
Mercy had her first social smile this week. I’d forgotten the normal time frame for that milestone so it completely caught me off guard. To be frank, Sam is the slightly cuter baby at this point because Mercy has this weird receding hairline, so I’m glad she’s the one that smiled first. Nothing cuter than a smiling baby. She is also tracking me with her eyes now. Girls are just so much more advanced! But we knew that already.
One of the downsides to belly sleeping your babies (besides the potential for unsolicited commentary from judgmental moms) is that they acquire the skill of rolling from belly to back long before they are able to roll the other direction. This is a non-issue if you have a back sleeper because by the time they start rolling in their sleep from back to belly, they are physically capable of returning to their backs (although they may choose not to). In contrast, a belly sleeper rolls to their back and physically cannot get back onto their stomach, so they just lay there like a poor, upside down turtle, waving their arms and legs in the air helplessly until you go flip them back over. This phase can last until 4-5 months when at last they can roll over themselves.
I had totally forgotten about how much this phase sucked until this week, when I went in the baby room in the morning to discover Sammy helpless and frustrated on his back. Thankfully this was a one-time occurrence, but I know the point at which it starts happening repeatedly is just around the corner.
I am considering separating the babies into their own cribs. They have started moving a lot more in their sleep and I wonder sometimes if they are disrupting each other. For some reason the thought of splitting them up makes me sad, so for now they are still in one crib. The moment I confirm there is any sleep disruption actually happening I will move them, because sleep trumps any sentimentality.
Back to Work?
I have been struggling this week over the decision of whether or not to return to work when my maternity leave is over. By “return to work”, I mean go back to doing the part-time, work from home bookkeeping I was doing before I had the babies. The decision is NOT coming easy. It’s a perfect job and I genuinely enjoy working. There is a level of fulfillment I derive from a job well done that I simply do not get from mothering – perhaps because the job is never done. Plus, truthfully, we need the money. I left the decision open when I went on maternity leave because I anticipated a sort of craziness with 4 children under 4, but I am actually less overwhelmed than I thought I would be. I think fitting 10-12 hours of work into my week is still possible. Still, I have come to enjoy the time off… the pleasure of going for runs in the morning instead of hopping on the computer and the peacefulness of naptime with no work to complete. I have noticed a remarkable difference in my level of patience and my enthusiasm for the role of motherhood in general. Without the stress, I am a better mother.
I am looking to the Lord for direction on this one, but His answer isn’t clear to me. Can I have faith that if I quit my job, God will provide for us financially? Or is this unique part-time, work-from-home job actually the way God IS providing? Is it actually an exercise of faith to jump off this cliff and expect God to catch me, or is it selfishly testing God? The uncertainty is absolutely killing me.
Am I the only one who has periodic panic attacks in the car that they forgot a baby? This isn’t just a twin-specific problem for me… I remember it happening after I had Abel too. We were halfway to Playwerx on Friday and suddenly I couldn’t remember whether or not I had put both babies in the car. I had to mentally recount the car loading play-by-play before I could assure myself that all four children were present.
Tell me I’m not the only one that happens to.