Who said “The first year is the hardest”?

Has anyone else been told that before, besides me? I’ve also heard, “It gets easier.”

When? When exactly does it get easier? I’m pretty sure it’s not the 11th month. If the first year is the hardest, does that mean I’ve got 2.5 weeks to go until hard turns to easy? No? I didn’t think so. Liars.

I am SO behind on blogging. And reading people’s blogs. In fact, I’ve got about 49 unread emails of your blogs to go through, and I don’t delete them because I want to remember to go back and read them, and then I don’t, and they build up. I want to blog. I finally pushed other things out of the way tonight to do it, when there are 5,000 things I need to be doing. But it just feels good, especially because the blogging community is so lovely.

In my last post, I believe I wondered whether or not I’d have crawlers and walkers in my next post. And in fact, I do. This is VERY recent – C just crawled for the first time two days ago, and not to be outdone, B took his first steps by himself yesterday, just one day later. B never crawled, scooted, slid, etc. He went right to walking from sitting down. I have videos of both events – I missed C’s crawling and my husband missed B’s walking, but at least the other parent was present to take the video. And we are very excited for our babies taking these independent steps. It means that B is a happy little guy, not nearly as frustrated as he used to be. And less frustration means less screaming. So that’s a win win right there. C – she was content NOT to crawl (probably explaining why she did it so late), and now she’s just content to crawl if necessary. One thing the baby books don’t tell you though – after a baby learns to crawl or walk, they aren’t exactly GOOD at it.

I guess that’s common sense. A lot of people say things like, “Oh, once my baby learned to walk/crawl he just took off! Get those gates out!” Except – no. That’s not what happened, at least for us. C crawled that one time, and she’s sort of done it two or three times since. B – he DOES want to walk, but he can’t, he sucks at it. Really, really sucks. He falls every two seconds and takes about three steps before he gives up and just lets himself crash. Except I’m there to catch him, of course.

And everyone said, “Don’t wish for your babies to crawl/walk. Enjoy them not moving around on their own while you can.” And I thought they said that because they (whoever “they” are) wanted to soak up the little tiny baby stage and would be sad when that went away. And I disagreed, because my babies were upset and crying due to their lack of independence. But now, now I realize it’s because when they learn how to move, that’s all they want to do, but they’re terrible at it and you have to watch them every second of the day. And this – this is a challenge with more than one baby. How do you do it with two?

If I could lay out the hardest, most challenging months of this past year, they would be birth-4 months to start. Nothing is worse than lack of sleep. You become a disoriented hot mess. I swore back in those days nothing would ever be so tough as that stage then with the lack of sleep and around the clock feedings. That is partially true. Then months 5-9 were an absolute BREEZE. The babies were fun, they laughed, they learned to eat solids, they sat by themselves. And sat. And sat. They played with toys, they were content. I took them out, showed them off, and plunked them down for one million pictures. I felt a little supermom-ish, like I had it all figured out. Which I did, for that stage in their lives. But months 10, and now especially 11, wow. Almost as challenging as when they were born! Yes, they sleep through the night. Thankfully. But it’s back to that time again where I eat my lunch in 5 seconds flat, while juggling one baby on my hip who is reaching for things she can’t have and laying down the other on the floor because he is throwing his head back in an all-out temper tantrum. Another thing you don’t read in baby books – babies start to act like TODDLERS before they are toddlers. My twins love each other; there are many kisses that go around. But when they aren’t laughing and giggling at each other, they’re screaming and fighting. B wants any toy or book C has and when he takes it, C starts screaming. If I give it back to her, or if B misses his target, he starts swinging his arms and throwing a tantrum. When C plays with certain toys, she doesn’t want B anywhere near her and shrieks if he comes close. I have to split them up and sit between them when they play! Is this NORMAL?

As you can tell, I’m finding this stage very draining. They are so adorable, they’re learning every minute and you can see the wheels turning as they process new things. But they can’t be left alone for a minute. Even if they’re safe – if I put them both in a large pack n play in the kitchen to play with some toys, they’re safe, but they’re fighting. And biting. When we’re on the floor in the living room, C wants to stand up at the waterless water table and practice her twerking, and B wants to walk. He won’t sit, he won’t lay down, it’s walk or bust. But of course, he can’t do it on his own and I can’t leave C standing up for long. One of them seems to be upset all the time, and it just rotates, who I can please and who I can’t. And of course, I try to please both as often as possible.

A lot of this comes down to “free play” time. We have a lot of toys and books but the babies do get bored after a while. We all need some structure. So we go out every single day, to play groups or to run errands or visit friends. It really helps cut down on the fighting over toys and it gives the babies new experiences. The downside is that I can’t even try to clean the house, prep dinner, or do laundry. Our house is falling apart. I just had to tell a new friend as we were setting up playdates that my house isn’t….playdate material. She was so forgiving and offered her house instead but really, how completely embarrassing. She wouldn’t judge me for it, but I don’t want a new friend and her little baby coming into my crazy house with all the clutter, the small rooms and the hyper dogs who don’t get enough exercise. And the LACK OF CENTRAL AIR.  I want to be more “put together”, and I want my house to do the same. Neither are happening right now. This twin almost-toddler thing is giving me a run for my money.

So that’s where I’ve been the past few weeks. Survival mode, again.

I won’t keep this post too long, but there have been wonderful, amazing things too. The crawling/walking was huge for both of them. But I’m finding the other, non-physical milestones much more fascinating. They are LEARNING. It’s sign-language time, first of all. They both have one sign, “All done”. I mean, after almost 6 months of doing that one, plus “more” and “eat” – it’s about time they got at least one. But they know it, they do it properly and it’s cute. Then, when they started copying me, I realized, this is prime time for learning. So I’ve tried to do what I can to teach them everything they want to know, and repeat it multiple times.

C has 1.5 words – “Duck” was her first (wasn’t that the same for you, Sparrow?) and “cat”, though it’s more like “dat”. I’m impressed with the “t” though. She and B also do the “d” sound appropriately for dogs. C loves books and cries when you stop reading them. She points, looks at you, wants to know. She can identify and find her toes and her hair, which is pretty cool. She can find my teeth as well. She claps her hands, she makes fish lips, both when asked.  B is fascinated with ceiling fans so I had to quickly make up a sign for fan before I had time to look it up, and after just one day, he’s starting to do it.  He waves, but in the wrong direction, so he’s actually saying “come here” instead of “hi”. He shakes his head no when you do. He put his ear to his shoulder when you do. He’s totally copying everything. He finally learned to feed himself his solids, which cut down on the mealtime screaming. They know nursery rhymes. They point. I count and recite the alphabet constantly – they’re a little young, but you never know what they’re taking in. It really is a fun age and it’s amazing to know that NOW is when the learning really takes off. NOW we have such a big impact on them. I wish that I could spend more time teaching them to meet their individual needs. One year is coming up real quick, and though it’s taken a long time, the milestones are really taking off.

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16 thoughts on “Who said “The first year is the hardest”?

  1. Not-So-Fertile Girl says:

    Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto Ditto
    I cannot ditto this enough. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is feeling this survival-mode struggle again with this stage. We are currently at my in-laws, so I’ve lost my “baby jail” playpen and our in-escapable furniture circle. I can’t look away for a minute, and I feel like I will be exhausted for the rest o my life…

    • futuresoccermom says:

      Oh, phew. I feel like I’m losing my mind. People don’t forgive you at this stage, only when babies are newborns for being a complete mess! I just replied to your food comment, sorry for doing it so late!

  2. randomsqueaks says:

    They are sooo cute! I love reading about the next stage usually but now I’m scared. I’m in that lovely time when I’m sleeping better and the babies aren’t constantly crying. Just every ten minutes instead of five. Guess I should take advantage of all my free time (ha!) to make some freezer meals.
    I ditto the “not play date material” home. I love my home once you’re inside but I have a not-so-lovely flight of outside stairs and I live in a condo while 99% of my mommy friends have a house. Sooo hard not to compare your home to someone else’s! I tell myself that I’ll be happy when we get a house (soon, if our condo sells) but you know I’ll be embarrassed of all the flaws because we can only afford a fixer-upper.

    • futuresoccermom says:

      Thank you! Yes, make those freezer meals now – I had really wanted to do just that and instead, we’re cooking dinner at 8:00 and it sucks! I like your phrase “not play date material” – that would’ve made a great post title! Because that’s exactly the situation. And you make a good point too about comparing my house to other’s houses. Even when I tell myself my next, bigger house will be kept clean – I’m just kidding myself. How will I keep that one clean if I can’t organize this one? I need to go hang out in some other unorganized, messy homes I think.

  3. robin says:

    The phase when they were both learning to walk was sort of irritating because I could only help one walk at a time. I had to take turns and there was some crying. I also encouraged them to push things – cardboard boxes, a push toy, whatever. I don’t remember how we got through this phase, but we did. I do remember every evening when my husband came home the two of us would “take the kids for a walk” – holding their hands and walking them around the apartment in the way that they wanted me to do all day but was impossible. This could easily be 10 or 15 minutes of walking. And anywhere we were when my husband was there was spent practicing walking. So when we were alone I guess we didn’t have to do it as much. But I don’t really remember.

    On the other hand, it was such a relief from the frustration of not being able to do anything. And they could still get around by crawling if they wanted, so it was just a matter of whose turn it was for walking practice.

    It might not be in 2.5 weeks but for me it really did get easier after a year. I don’t know when but it was somewhere after the year mark that things got easier somehow. But now that they are becoming mobile, practice having them come to you when you call them. Call them back if they go a certain distance, and if they don’t come, pick them up and bring them back to you. Like keep showing them that this is what you want when you say whatever it is you want to say to get them to come back. For me this was crucial training, and I started as soon as they started to crawl. Now I don’t worry as much in public places because for the most part they will stay by me if I tell them to (within reasonable expectations for toddlers). I can’t run in two directions so I had to get them listening to me early. Plus the bonus is that they know I mean business when I ask them to do something… sort of… ha!

    • robin says:

      Also you can get them to come to you by having an awesome toy and saying “come here!” or whatever it is you plan to say, so they know when you say “come here” it means you want them to come to you and you mean it – either it will be awesome toy or it will be hugs and kisses. It sounds like dog training but it this kind of basic behavior training kind of goes cross-species I guess? Any time when you’re out-numbered / unable to run after them!

      • futuresoccermom says:

        I always love your comments – you give the best, helpful suggestions! I already told my husband today about how when your husband got home you guys would each take a baby and go for a walk. While my daughter isn’t there yet, that’s what my son needs – someone to walk him around. I really want us to start doing this when my husband gets home. And you have other good ideas too, like pushing things (haven’t done that yet) and teaching them how to come back. Thank you so much! Keep them coming!

  4. ozifrog says:

    I remember this as the “I just can’t do that ” phase. A friend wanted me to visit his farm, solo with bub, at 12 ish months old, and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cope. They are so crap when they are first moving. So stupidly clumsy and annoying! Jman took steps the day before his first birthday, but he wasn’t “walking walking” til 14 months.

    Something shifted for us at 14 months. It got better again at 16,18, 20 months. I had forgotten this til I read your post. I remembered I had to put up my return to work at 12 months because it seemed he was at the height of his neediness. It changed so much in two months. So just hang in there. Trust me. I leave the house now with a sippy cup (usually), a vegemite sandwich, a nappy and wipes. No change mat, no giant bag, no crazy requirements, no change of clothes. Mostly, no stroller. He walks everywhere at 23 months. Two would be tough, I know. It. Does. Get. Easier.

  5. JustHeather says:

    Such cuties and so much going on!
    The “come here” instead of “hi” wave is very common! My boy did it and i remember a friend’s kid that was just younger did it too. 🙂 Isn’t it cute!?

  6. sparrow says:

    Just saw this–yes, duck!! Though that seems to have been a phase she passed through– she isn’t saying it anymore! I know what you mean about feeling like they’re entering the toddler phase but frustrated because they’re still babies. Hang in there (me, too). You are doing awesome!!

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