Transitions

I have started this blog post now three times. I may, in fact, finish this one.

When C was 4 months old, she changed into a different, extremely challenging baby. She cried screamed for hours. She would only allow me to hold her. Not even my husband could calm her down. If, for some reason, I was unable to be with her while she was so upset, she’d cry for hours and refuse to sleep until I came to hold her (this happened one night when we went out to dinner). She didn’t sleep well into the night. She stopped napping unless I rocked her for the entire duration of her nap. I couldn’t run errands, I couldn’t leave the house. And when that was bad, she stopped napping altogether. Rocking her didn’t work anymore.

At 5 months, the screaming slowed, turned into a whine, and then stopped. She allowed herself to be held by my husband and others. She smiled again. She napped again. And then we sleep trained her at 5.5 months, once she was back to her old self. I didn’t dare sleep train her during that odd period because I knew she wasn’t herself. Something was up. I’ll never know what exactly made her change personalities and become a non-stop screaming machine for a month straight. Maybe a growth spurt, maybe just some big developmental leaps. But she’s never had a month like that since – in fact, she’s only become more pleasant and cheery as she’s gotten older. No more screaming baby, really ever.

Which is good, because B has taken her place. I’ve mentioned his meltdowns a few times in the past few months. His changing personality has been a slow process. He was the easiest, simple baby who never fussed and put himself right to sleep. He never took a pacifier, never sucked his thumb. But he didn’t need to self-soothe; he was never upset. Once he learned to smile, he did so non-stop. A few months ago, he started melting down when he wanted to walk and couldn’t. Being strapped in to a high chair or car seat or stroller was like torture. Those meltdowns were annoying, but I understood them. He wanted to move and I wouldn’t let him, and he couldn’t do it on his own. Now, in Month 12, I’m going to say that this month is C’s Month 4. He isn’t himself. He’s a changed baby.

B has more meltdowns in his day than he has happy times. He cries the moment I walk into the twins’ bedroom – he wants to get out of the crib and I’m not moving fast enough. He cries when I bring him and C into our bedroom to say good morning to Daddy, because I have to sit him on the bed and he doesn’t want to sit. He cries when I change his diaper, when he’s hungry, when I won’t let him step in the dogs’ water bowl. He cries because after the 8th toy he’s yanked right out of C’s hands, I tell him no, and try to redirect. He cries because I won’t let him swing his arms aggressively back and forth in hopes they connect with C’s face. He cries because he wanted to keep walking in one direction, but I need him to turn around so I can keep an eye on C. He cries when he’s in the stroller and it stops, so in a store I have to hold him in my arms while also pushing a double stroller with C inside. Most of all, he cries when I leave the room – to go to the bathroom, to get a drink, to go and get C, to switch with Daddy so I can go do some chores. He’s learned “mama”, so as I quickly dart away while switching places with my husband he throws back his head and yells “mama, mama”. Now, these tears aren’t just tears – they are absolute toddler-style meltdowns. Whether he’s already sitting or if he’s standing, he throws back his head and falls if I’m not there to catch him. He screams and kicks his feet in the air. He rolls around on the ground, back and forth, absolutely beside himself. Today he had the longest meltdown I have witnessed. He had just transitioned from a car nap to the “baby jail”, a baby play yard where the three of us spend a lot of our time. I dropped C in there first, got her going with some toys. Dropped B in there, gave him a toy. I had to go to the bathroom, I had to wash my hands. If I don’t put them in “baby jail”, C will crawl in one direction and B will walk in another. He will fall. It won’t work out. So he started to cry. But by the time I sat in the play yard with them, it turned into a meltdown, and then, even with me sitting right there, he couldn’t get control of himself. He rolled around, like I mentioned, “toddler style” screaming his head off for a solid 10 minutes. I tried leaving him alone, I tried holding him. I tried distraction. He couldn’t be reasoned with. Eventually, I brought out veggies and started feeding them to C, and he stopped.

I can’t remember if, when C was a changed baby, I worried if she would permanently be a needy baby. I suppose I did. I hope I did. Because that’s what I’m fearing now. That this is B – an always difficult child, a violent and aggressive one who is mean to his sister and just generally hates life. Transitioning seems to be one of his biggest issues right now. This behavior isn’t his only change – his naps have gone haywire and he’s waking and screaming in the middle of the night. And he’s become a picky eater – he’s completely against trying new foods unless they match the texture he prefers (the texture of veggies – wet, mushy). Anything dry, stringy, or the like, no chance. He used to eat absolutely everything I gave him.

So like I said, this isn’t him. Or isn’t the old B. I’m hoping this isn’t the new B. So I’ve tried to write blog posts but I’m so tired, so drained. He is sucking the life out of me!

And this is the first time I’ve found myself really thinking about the downfalls of having twins. My twins are the best thing that has ever happened to me, they filled a void I didn’t realize I had that was widening by the day. Being a mom is the most rewarding, fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. But because there are two, one is neglected – the non-needy baby. That’s C. She doesn’t get too much attention these days. Luckily she entertains herself well, and when I say, “Come here, C, look at this toy” – she comes and acts like it’s brand new. But even B – he is also neglected. Because if it were just him, I’d be helping him get more walking practice in. All he wants to do is practice walking all over my house. But he can’t, because I have C as well. So I have to pick him up, turn him around, put him back in the play yard, and that causes meltdowns. Maybe he wouldn’t meltdown and I’d never notice any changes because he’d be getting what he wants – which is to walk, to explore, to be adventurous. There are things that make him happy, but he’s limited in experiencing them because I have another child who needs me. He lights up ear to ear when he carries something in both of his hands as he tentatively walks down the hall. If he didn’t have a sibling, there wouldn’t be another child he’d steal toys from and then hit in the face with. Being a twin mom right now is extra challenging.

But thank goodness for C, because she’s my sanity right now. She poses for pictures, she is copying my words as well as my sign language (she can now say “cheese”). She snuggles, she laughs, she tickles so easily. She’s a kissing fanatic who just wants you to love her.

And yet, there was that time so many months ago where this was B – so easy, so even-keeled, so happy and giddy. C was whiny, fussy, unhappy, and needy. The tables have turned. Perhaps one day they could BOTH be their happy selves at the same time.

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I choose smiling pictures, haha. No one needs to see a meltdown. Like I said, there are things that make him happy. Being adventurous and letting him explore is his favorite.

And I can’t forget the many facial expressions of C.

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I have other posts in my brain about their birthday party (they had the stomach bug), our food rut (I need ideas!), separation anxiety (B is going through that now and our nanny starts in 2 weeks! Ahh!) and transitioning to one nap (the worst)…but it’s just not going to happen here tonight. Hopefully soon!

Happy Birthday!

Warning: Mushy baby post ahead.

I often try to recreate in my head the feeling I felt when I was wheeled into the NICU after my c-section to see my babies for the first time. I still don’t even know what time it was – being that they were born at 10:06 at night, I assume it was the next morning. B and C were in different NICU rooms, and B’s room was first. We came around the corner, me in my wheelchair, and amidst all the other babies, there was mine. He was handed to me, and I cried. A lot. And then we went to see C, and the same thing happened. Then I asked if we could put them together for a quick picture (thank goodness somewhere in my foggy medicated head I thought to ask for this). Being that no one was hooked up to any tubes, they were okay with it. And this happened:

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I imagine that the feeling I felt, and that I try to feel again in just the same way, is the same feeling a mother gets when she gives birth vaginally – when the baby is put on your chest. Same thing. It’s this insane, overwhelming, deep feeling of mine. It’s like the best Christmas gift ever, the one you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Right there for the taking. I used to try and remember that one moment so often when the babies were little and refluxy and life was tough. And as the months have gone by, I’ve thought of it less and less. But I still remember it, especially today. Today’s their birthday.

What’s scary to me is that the moment – not the memory of it but the feeling that went with it – is harder to feel, the more time that goes by. I’m afraid it will go away permanently one day, and then what? Then I reminisce about the babies’ first birthday? I say to my husband, “Remember the day the twins turned five”? Or even crazier still – the day they graduate high school, or get married..or…etc.

I can’t imagine that there will ever be any better memory, or any better feeling, than when my wheelchair came around that corner. And honestly, I really, really don’t want to forget it, because single-handedly, that moment was the best one of my entire life.

Anyway. The past year has been exhausting, mostly. And it’s had its challenging stages, such as the one we’re in right now. But the lows were never low – nothing with these babies can ever be that bad, because they’re here and they’re our kids.

 

So yes, today was their birthday. We didn’t do anything special – their party is this weekend. But of course, today was the day C decided to (for the first time ever) skip her first nap. Okay. She made it until noon, which is when most kids who take just 1 nap go down, so fine. But she only slept an hour and a half. And then she was a BEAR the rest of the day. So today we worked off C’s schedule. With that said, she was extra sensitive and cried when we gave them their little smash cakes (we didn’t even sing!) and when she opened up her present (a doll – apparently with a scary face). It was just one of those days for her.

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The day started fine, with some silly babies who won’t sit still and give me blurry pictures!

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But C just had an off day, as you can see.

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We enticed both babies to touch their little smash cakes by putting peas on them – and it helped, tho neither ever dug into the cakes. Just gentle pokes! So boring!

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B was into staring at his cake, but not much else. He had two nice naps, so he was in a pleasant mood! After C got upset, we revisited the cake in a different, less pressured way.

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The babies opened up their new dolls and B gave his doll a million kisses and lots of hugs, which was adorable. And on the way home as we expected, C napped.

Happy Birthday, sweet babies.