Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tales from the Crib Side

Don’t let the glass of wine and the fact that I am now in the recliner fool you. Tonight, I went into full battle mode and have the headache, the missing hair, and the wrinkles to prove it. Tonight, I took a walk on the crib side…

One of our first purchases after the first trimester was a pair of beautiful cherry wood sleigh cribs for the nursery. It was one of those purchases that Marty thought could wait, but I had been waiting years to furnish a nursery, and what twin nursery is complete without matching cribs? By 24 weeks, in anticipation of bed rest, we had the nursery all finished, minus the names of the walls, since that was to be a secret. A shrine to all things baby!

I read and researched and asked other twin moms about where their twins slept. Ultimately, I bought another item Marty thought we could do without: a co-sleeper. The babies would sleep attached to our bed, side by side, in twin bliss. Eventually, we would move them to one crib, and then one day, into two separate cribs. Twin-tastic ideas!

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.

The first night home from the hospital was a co-sleeper disaster. From trying to climb into the bed over the co-sleeper with c-section stitches to babies who would not sleep on their backs (or any other way for that matter), we realized we had made a terrible miscalculation on the sleeping arrangements. We tried bouncy seats. We tried car seats. We tried begging, pleading. Even tears of frustration. Oh, how uncompromising five day old babies can be.

We realized the next day that they seemed to nap pretty well in the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper I had bought after reading glowing reviews on my message board. Unfortunately, we only had one. Fortunately, Babies R Us had them in stock and in the store. At that point, we would have paid double the sticker price if it meant even an hour of sleep.


We LOVE the Rock and Play sleeper. Hands down, it is the best baby item—EVER. Did I say, EVER? I really mean EVER.

Sure, it meant the expensive co-sleeper was useless. Sure, I was ruining their twinness by separating them into separate bassinets. But, they slept so well. The incline was perfect for a reflux baby like Drew, and the way it snuggles a baby tight was perfect for Emily who loves to be held close. We could easily divide and conquer, with each of us taking a baby, a bassinet, and some bottles for night time duty. The sleepers fold easily for travel and are perfect for the grandparent’s house or the hotel.

Time out—going upstairs to check on babies—again…BRB.

Okay, crib check reveals two sleeping babies, both still breathing. Mommy can breathe and blog.

Speaking of breathing, having the babies right beside me allowed me to check on them throughout the night. It was comforting to roll over, see their angelic faces, kiss their foreheads, and feel their warm breath.

So we continued on, enjoying the sleep and the noisy sounds of babies snoring and sighing until—

They became mobile.

Emily pulled up on the side of the bassinet first. Then Drew learned to sit straight up in his. Uh oh.

Was it really the end of the Rock and Play era?

I guess that was when they were about 4-5 months old. We tried to put them down for
naps in the crib. We tried a few nights in the crib. Something always thwarted our attempts. One would wake up and not want to go back down. Another would be contorted into some strange sleeping position. Maybe it was a cough or a sniffle that made me afraid to leave them. It was too hot in the room. Too cold another time. We were lazy and didn’t want to walk across the hall during a fussy period when it was so much easier to have them beside us. Mommy didn’t want them to grow up so fast…

So we rocked on.

Until tonight, the one night of the week I am on my own for bedtime. I fed them, bathed them, read to them, and turned the music on, just like any other night. Emily starts twisting first, and the next thing I know, she’s over the side, but not before I catch her and put her back down. After the third time, I decide to pull out the big gun—the crib.

As I get her out, Drew decides to scoot out of the bottom of his sleeper. I catch him with the third and fourth arm that all moms of multiples have and decide he has earned a trip to the crib, too.

In their beautiful cribs, Emily screams as if the crib has been dropped on her while Drew decides it’s a soft place to practice his crawling pose. Oh, this is not looking good. Not good at all.

I reposition Drew who is hanging out of the crib like a prisoner begging for food. I kiss Emily again. I bite my tongue to keep from saying, “This is for your own good.”
I sit beside her crib. I sing. I hum. I bounce. I rock. She’s really testing my belief in not letting babies cry it out. At one point, I walk out. In tears. I hear the Rocky theme song playing over “Rock a Bye Baby.”

I scarf down my supper in a couple of bites. I need my strength to continue the fight.

And, then I realize it’s quiet. Or at least the wailing has stopped. I tiptoe upstairs to find Emily asleep sideways in her crib and Drew smiling on all fours.

Fifty percent success.

Drew is wearing down, so I put him in the sleeper beside the crib. I sit in the doorway, watching to make sure he doesn’t catapult out. A few minutes later, he’s out, and I easily move him to the crib.

Two babies down and one mommy down and out.

An hour later, I can report I have been up there a total of five times to check on them. Each time, they have been just fine.

Me? Well, I am battered, exhausted, and determined. We (or should I say I) can’t keep doing this transition over and over. The time has come, and I am determined to win the crib war. Two babies--one night at a time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dear Drew

Dear Drew,

Today you are seven months old, and you are one curious little boy! Perhaps your curiosity was the main reason you learned to sit up all by yourself even before Emily. You love a good view, and when you find yourself on your back against your will, you will strain and try to pull yourself into a sitting position. We joke you are trying to do sit-ups. Once upright, you look around, smiling.

You are also learning how to move around. You roll easily from stomach to back, and more recently, you have started rolling back to stomach. In the last few days you have begun picking yourself up off the floor by pushing up. Once you add the knees, you will be in prime position for crawling. Right now, your preferred means of movement is backwards scooting. Watch out world when you decide to throw it into forward!

When I asked Daddy what stands out most about you since our last letter, he immediately said your overall happy state of being. Wait? Didn’t I say how happy you are the last time I wrote? I sure did. And, guess what? You’ve only gotten happier. You smile with your whole body. You laugh and your little dimple under your eye shows. Perhaps the only time you are not happy is when you wake up. Every day, without fail, you wake up screaming like you have never eaten before. Trust me, Drew, we feed you--often and well. We think the early morning wake-up calls are a small price to pay for babies who easily sleep ten hours a night.

Your six month appointment seemed so far removed from those early, colicky days. You aced all of the assessment questions, performing ahead of where the average baby scores. At 17 lbs and 7 ounces, you are in the 50th percentile for weight, 45th for height, and 60th for head circumference. All good sizes, as the good doctor noted, but still not quite caught up to Emily, which is funny, since both of you eat roughly the same amount of the same things. As an eater, you tend to either snack or gorge. When it comes to fruits and veggies, you typically spit back out the first spoonful of whatever is on the menu, only to come back and devour the rest. Just this weekend, we discovered you love apple butternut squash--second bite onward. Yum.

When I started writing this letter, you had two teeth, both in the exact same spot as your sister. I must write faster if I am going to keep up with your teeth. This morning your Daddy announced, and a bite on his finger confirmed, you now have a top tooth for a grand total of three teethies. Your hair is still white blonde and thin and your eyes a slightly paler shade of blue than Emily’s. Your cheeks stay a rosy red, and we’ve been battling a nasty rash under your neck from the constant moisture. There’s a reason we call you Drool Bear.

Family was a big part of your first Thanksgiving and first Christmas. You eagerly went to each pair of open arms, ready to charm the next willing snuggler with your smile and laugh. We all had much to be thankful for this holiday season, including the speedy recovery of Grandma Vivian after hip surgery. The silver lining of her accident was the time she was able to spend with us during her rehab, and she certainly loved loving on the two of you.

Santa left lots of goodies for you this year—toys, books, and new Canes’ gear. The rest of the family also made sure your first Christmas was extra special, and I think we will be opening toys for quite some time to come. You love the roar of the race car, the pop of the spinning top, and the song of the singing farm. And, when you are ready to refresh from a hard day of playing, you can recline in the comfort of your new yellow ducky tub before we read you and Emily a bedtime story from your new book collection.

Thank you, though, Drew, for reminding me through your innocence of the real meaning of Christmas. All of the worldly gifts we give can never compare to God’s gift of His Son to this world. As I stared at the sleeping faces of my babies on Christmas Eve, overcome by motherly love and moved to tears, I recalled anew God’s love and grace. Oh, yes, dear Drew, God is good--always.

Anticipating being snowed in if we waited until the day after Christmas to leave, we decided to hit the road Christmas Day night and drive overnight to Orlando for a family trip to Disney with Cousin Tanner and Aunt Kelly. One of our funniest memories of you from Disney is seeing you pull yourself forward in the stroller, stick your head out to see what was going on, and then fall backward, only to repeat the process over and over. Not to be outdone by Emily, you also had to eat a Disney park map except you didn’t make scary choking sounds. You chewed and swallowed. Oops. Next trip, we will get you ice cream instead.

Still recovering from a long car ride home, we all spent Mommy and Daddy’s anniversary and New Year’s Eve, at home. We turned in early, and Daddy woke Mommy at midnight to see the ball drop. After a quick kiss, I was back to sleep, ready to wake up to my first new year as a mom.

The new year brought your first guys’ only trip to a Canes’ game. Daddy took you and Papa to a Canes/Panthers game, and while I was nervous to not be there with you, Daddy was good about sending me picture texts of your adventures. Between the lights and the action, you slept for about five minutes. Daddy commemorated the experience by buying you your first jersey.

In 2011, I commit to working extra hard at the most important job I have ever been selected to perform: being your mommy. Every smile, every milestone, every experience with you is the best paycheck I will ever receive.

We love you, Drew Bear.

Dear Emily

Dear Emily,

Today you are seven months old, and you are on the move! Since your last birthday, you have learned to roll your way around a room. Last night we watched as you rolled across the living room until you made it off the rug. Once on the hardwood, you used your arms to push yourself backward until you made your way to the wall. I imagine that I will be writing to you next month to congratulate you on learning to crawl since you are also making great progress pushing up and pulling your knees under you.

Right now, early on a Saturday, I am sitting downstairs enjoying a cup of coffee, but enjoying even more the conversation between you and your daddy that is going on upstairs. You woke, happy and smiling as usual, before I came downstairs. I picked you up, gave you a kiss, and put you in bed with your daddy. You are babbling away, and Daddy is singing and talking right back at you. In the last week, much to my joy and dismay, you have started saying, “dadadada.” Despite me practicing “mamamama” every chance I get, you only “dadadadada” even louder. Daddy loves it.

But, then again, Daddy loves you and Drew so much. I tell him all the time what a great daddy he is. He wakes up early to help feed you. He steps right in to help make a bottle, change a messy diaper, or lend a hand during bath time. When we’re out, he’s the first one to grab the stroller to push you two proudly around. He loves to show you two off. As a stranger said last night, “You have two beautiful babies!” Okay, so your Daddy and I were both just a wee bit proud!

You had a great six month appointment, and once again, you exceeded expectations in the growth department. You weighed in at 18lb, 14 ounces, which put you in the 92 percentile for weight. Your head, home to what I am convinced is one big, busy brain, was in the whopping 97 percentile, while your length trailed slightly in the 60 percentile. You still eat with gusto, and I can’t think of a fruit or veggie you have yet to dislike. I have noticed that you know when you are full, and it’s not uncommon for you to leave a bottle unfinished. However, you know how to let us know when you are done. Recently, after you finished a bottle, which you had held all by yourself, you threw it out the stroller. Guess it’s time we teach you another sign for ALL DONE.

You have two teeth, the second of which seemed to appear overnight, right around Christmas. Along with sprouting teeth, you are finally getting hair. It’s blonde, but in the sunlight, there’s still a touch of red, especially in your eyebrows. Your eyes are a bright blue, and I just love the way they seem to dance when you smile and laugh. You still wake up so happy although, lately, you have fought like a mad dog when it’s time to go to sleep.

The last two months have brought your first big holidays—Thanksgiving and Christmas. We spent Thanksgiving at Great Grandma Nettie’s house. Grandma Vivian, Aunt Windy, and Uncle Tom joined us, and the whole family enjoyed time together and time to love on you and Drew. While we enjoyed turkey and all the fixings, you and Drew dined on sweet potatoes.

As part of our Christmas celebration this year, we hosted a party, and you and Drew showed your holiday spirit by attending as Emily Elf and Santa Bear You didn’t notice that the crowd was a bit smaller than expected due to forecast of snow that didn’t really happen. You smiled and basked in the attention, especially from your three grandmas who were here. Christmas Eve found us at Papa and Grandma’s house, surrounded once again by the love and attention of family. Sitting up with no help, you tore at the paper of your many presents, only really interested in cramming the pieces in your mouth. You got so many presents—a rocking horse, lots of popping, singing, blinking toys, clothes, and books. By the time we made it home, you two were out. We slipped you into your “First Christmas” sleeper and decided to skip Daddy reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”

Santa must have been really impressed with how good you are because he went all out. Once again, you and Drew were surrounded by more presents and more wrapping paper than you could chew. The morning seemed just about perfect as we piled you and Drew in the recliner with Daddy so he could read “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” just as he planned to do the night before.

When I was a little girl, we always went to my Grandma Retha’s for Christmas Day. Over the years, the tradition has faded away. This year, I decided to make a point to go over the hills and through the woods—back to Grandma’s house and take my new babies with me. Grandma Retha’s memory may not be what it used to be, but she knew just what to do with two cute, cuddly babies. She held and talked to you both, and I enjoyed the present of seeing her happy for yet another Christmas.

We ended Christmas with an overnight drive to Orlando to begin your first ever trip to Disney. As always, you babies were rock star travelers. You are like, “Have car seat, will travel.” We love it.

Disney was packed. You slept through most character encounters, so I am sorry to say we have no first pictures of you with Snow White. You rode lots of rides, with your first being “It’s a Small World.” You only had one meltdown the entire trip, and that was at Fantasmic . Good thing we had seen the show before. You also gave us a slight scare when you consumed one whole corner of a park map and told us by gagging slightly. Quick-thinking, Aunt Kelly knew just what to do as she used her finger to sweep your mouth clean. Forget trying to figure out Disney animatronics, we want to know how you got the map!

Cousin Tanner had an awesome time, and when we go back when you are older, he will be a great tour guide.

As 2011 began, I made just one real resolution—to be the best mommy I can be. You deserve nothing less.

We love you, Emmy-Bee.
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