In Limbo

It has been a long few days. Lil C started to show symptoms of a cold, with sneezing, a runny nose, etc. But those same symptoms seemed to be exaggerated when we went outside, with one of her eyes just dripping clear tears, a clear drip from her nose, and both of those things being super itchy. She seemed to be suffering from seasonal allergies. To top it off, when she lays down flat, she has a nasty cough that causes her to wake up and cry. So tonight being night #3, she is waking up coughing about every 30-45 minutes. I go upstairs and pick her up, she falls asleep on my shoulder, I wait a few minutes, put her back down. Repeat.

The first night, I stayed up from 2:30-5:00 and just held her in the rocking chair while she slept upright. We tried propping the mattress but she kept trying to sit up and in doing so would roll down the little hill. Besides, it’s really not enough of a prop to do anything. Then last night we brought her downstairs and set up a pack n play in our bedroom where she slept on and off again, though not as bad as the night before. And now tonight, she’s been down for almost 2 hours and I’ll be going up for the 4th time. Poor baby. But I’m exhausted. (My husband is going up for this one now, thankfully and we do switch on and off.) I’m not sure what else to do for her. I’ll call the doctor next week if it continues, but during the day she eats and acts normally, save for the dripping eye and itchy nose. It’s sleeping that’s the issue.

The interwebs tell me that seasonal allergies don’t usually affect babies, as they need at least 2 seasons of exposure for it to take effect. So…are we doomed for C to have a lifetime of terrible allergies if they are showing up this early? Is this normal? Do they last the entire spring? I have no idea.

It feels like parenting these 9.5 month old twins has been more exhausting lately for other reasons too. As I’ve talked about before, B and C are a bit “behind” their peers with physical development. The doctor wasn’t concerned, and I know it’ll happen eventually, but they don’t do what most other babies their age (or younger) do. They don’t crawl, they don’t roll around, they don’t pull up on furniture. They still act like 5 or 6 month old babies who need to be carried or placed into a sitting position, but they’re very large and very heavy. B is definitely past 25 pounds and C is probably around 22 pounds herself. Everyone always says that I shouldn’t rush crawling or walking. Why they say this, I’m not sure. To hold onto the newborn baby stage? But really – I welcome it. When they can move around, sure I have to keep a very close eye on them and all of that, but right now they WANT to move around and can’t, making them frustrated and me tired. With all of these physical things they can’t do yet, they are making strides for sure, both of them. B absolutely loves to stand while I hold his hands. In fact, when doing this, he takes steps, walking all around our house. He started taking one or two steps like this many months ago, around 4 or 5 months old. But now he practically runs, shrieking with delight. Of course, I have to do it with him. I know it’s not aiding in his ability to walk, but he just loves it so much – it’s a guarantee to make him happy. And C, she has become a little more mobile with her body as well. When in the sitting position, she will lean way forward, balancing on her ankles, until she falls forward completely onto her stomach. As long as she isn’t smashing her face into something, she’s content enough for a few minutes in that position. And she’s just recently started jumping – like in the jumperoo or when you hold her in a standing position. For the longest time, she had no interest in bouncing and now she does. For her, these things are huge.

What it all amounts to is that neither of them want to SIT anymore – but they can’t do anything else. C wants to crawl, B wants to stand and run – but while my husband is at work, I’m only one person and I can’t easily hold them both for more than a few minutes. So they’re frustrated, like I said. And I’m tired. I look forward to the crawling and walking stage, so that they can achieve the independence they are wanting so badly but can’t yet attain.

And have I mentioned that they don’t NAP? Well, C does. She takes 2 one hour-ish naps. But B takes two 35-40 minute naps. That’s it. How many chores and tasks can I get done in two 35-40 minute periods a day? Not many. I get the babies’ things done, maybe a shower for myself, and that’s all I have time for, leaving so many chores for late at night. I remember the good old days of two hour naps…

I’ve talked about baby sign language before and mistakenly thought they might be starting to sign back. Not yet. I still only do “eat”, “more” and “all done”, and I do believe they sort of know what these things mean, but they don’t do them back. They also don’t clap, wave, or anything else of the like with their hands yet. As soon as they do, I know that’s about the time they could sign back. I look forward to that, too.

And then lastly, the food and drink issue. With food, I’m trying to introduce finger foods. B has 6 teeth that all came in in a month’s time. C still has none but she has very hard gums. I’m kind of terrified of choking, so I’m trying to start with mushy finger foods first before going to those Gerber puffs or anything like that. I know they dissolve, but still. So I have done tiny pieces of banana (dipped into oatmeal cereal for a hard coating, easier to pick up), avocado, and today, potato. They like all 3 of these things except 1) They, for the most part, can’t feed themselves. Only ONCE did I catch both of them on the same day pick up food and bring it to their mouths. Not since a few days ago. So I feed them one piece at a time, while encouraging them to do it themselves. And 2) they LOVE their purees. B screams bloody murder if I don’t get his solids into his gullet fast enough (yes, this is after he just consumed 8 ounces of milk less than an hour ago), and finger foods won’t do for just this reason. Too slow. When I feed him purees, even thicker with lentils and that sort of thing, I can’t get the spoon into the bowl as quick as he wants. His mouth is wide open, baby bird style, when that spoon comes around again. Luckily C is a slow eater. But she too likes her purees. I’m getting a little tired of making them the same pureed foods – lentils, sweet potato, avocado, pears, apples, peaches, carrots, blueberries, green beans – and would like to start introducing them to the rest of the food that exists out there. But I can’t see pureeing it all. They should be able to eat chunks now, right? So I’m just not sure where to go from here.

With the bottle – I’ve tried a variety of sippy cups and have found the straw cups to be…what I’m hoping to get the babies to use, for multiple reasons. They have each successfully taken a few sips of milk out of them. And water. But they just aren’t interested. The same with normal sippy cups as well – we tried those too. They just don’t care. They play with them, which is fine, but they don’t drink. Besides, they have never held their own bottles, and so far, they aren’t holding their own cups. I’m not really interested in introducing juice, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what to do to get them to transition. I’ve tried pouring half their bottle into the cup, but B screamed when (again) he couldn’t get to his milk fast enough.

I don’t know. I am personally ready for the next step in their little baby lives. I do miss the smallness of a newborn, and the way a tiny 8 pounder curls up on your chest. But really, that’s about it! I really enjoy them more and more every day. They reach to be picked up now, they tuck their heads into my shoulder on purpose. They give kisses, they giggle and laugh. They’re little people. This is why I’m tired of them being in limbo – I want to get on with the movement, the eating, the drinking. But I’m just not sure how to get there or what to do next. Will these things just happen on their own? I don’t know.

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These are C’s new “sad lips” – when she wants to cry but really isn’t all that upset. So cute.

And this is the face B makes when he holds onto a toy and gets excited. He squeezes his fists and shakes his whole body.

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And more kisses:

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What is “easy”?

As many bloggers have mentioned, it is National Infertility Awareness Week. When I check this blog’s stats, I discover that so many people who stumble across this site do so because they are struggling through infertility, and have questions about the drugs and the check-ups and everything else that comes with infertility treatments. Honestly, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my struggles. I actually wonder what sorts of hoops I would have to jump through if we ever wanted another child. The whole thing is daunting. But having gone through it, I feel just so – positive about raising these babies, and therefore the negativity I hear bothers me.

Which is how I came to this week’s blog topic. What makes a baby “easy”?

When you have a newborn (or two, or more) you really hope you have an “easy” baby. The number 1 reason for this is because you’re exhausted and you just need to sleep. Delirium takes over. So having a child that goes multiple hours in the middle of the night without needing to be fed fits many people’s qualifications of “easy”. Maybe this same baby also takes great naps – clearly he/she enjoys sleeping. Maybe they are great eaters, maybe they fall asleep without you having to bounce on a yoga ball while simultaneously singing 8 nursery rhymes. Maybe they follow a schedule. As a newborn, this baby would again be deemed “easy” by the parents and their family and friends. You’d smile and count your blessings and everyone else would think you really have it together and know what you’re doing. But as a newborn – this wouldn’t be typical. This wouldn’t be the norm. And it probably didn’t have much to do with you at all.

I had this baby. B was this baby. He didn’t cry too often, he stared off into space easily and allowed you time to breathe and think. At the time, I would’ve been the first one to call him “easy”. But really, he just “fit the idea”. He was the fantasy that people have that helped create the term “easy”. But he wasn’t easy. He was a baby – just, the way he was.

I also had another baby. C was the other baby – she had reflux. She was a preemie (they both were, but B was a very healthy one and quickly outgrew that status). She was so uncomfortable from her tummy troubles that she would cry. Most of her crying went from 4:00 pm – midnight. She had a long “witching hour”. She was extremely aware of new experiences and surroundings, which is why for a while, she cried in the bath and she cried in the car. Was C not an easy baby? By society’s terms, she was a “hard” baby (though some people have challenges much more extreme). But she wasn’t a hard baby – she just was a baby. Her own little self.

I did not have an easy and a hard baby. I just had two babies who, even as newborns, demonstrated the differences in their genetic makeup, in who they were. But it wasn’t hard to take care of C, and it wasn’t easy to take care of B. It just was.

Now, many months later, their personalities have stayed the same if not even heightened, but those other details have faded away. B does not love to sleep anymore. He does sleep all night, and for that I’m grateful. But today he took two 20 minute naps. That’s it, all day. He fussed, he even had a meltdown or two. Was he hard today? Well no – his fussing was his way of communicating to me that he was tired, that he was having trouble staying asleep, and that he didn’t know what to do with himself. But he also laughed hysterically every time one of the dogs came near him. He squealed with delight when I held his hands as he stood on his two feet and took some steps with my help (kid doesn’t even crawl, but he does this). He drank four 8 ounce bottles and wolfed down his solids. He flopped his lips with his fingers to make that funny sound. He wasn’t easy, he wasn’t hard. He just was. And C – C no longer has reflux. She eats. She sleeps. She is sleep trained – she puts the pacifier in herself and she strokes the wubbanub’s little legs as she falls asleep. She is extremely aware. She knows where you are when you leave the room, and even minutes later, has her eye on the exact spot you should return to, waiting for you. She watches as you make a sandwich, describing each step. She grabs your face and pulls it in for 5 kisses in a row (once she gets started…). Is she “easy”? No…but she’s not “hard” either. She’s just who she is.

You get the point. Now I want to point out that none of this means I don’t have easy or hard days. I absolutely do. Everyone does, and they should be expected. Today, with those terrible naps, was a bit of a challenge. I might even say it was a hard day. I was tired, I had a little less patience than I normally did. But that was ME. That’s how I was different. My babies were the same as always.

This post comes from a place where other people (usually those who do not have babies and haven’t in a long time, or ever) are so very quick to judge your children and tell you what they think your kids are like. You are free to agree or deny, but denying leaves you feeling defensive and vulnerable – or maybe it’s just me.

Because I have two babies, different genders and different personalities, it is so easy to compare them. There’s nothing wrong in my mind with comparing them on topics that have no emotional value, like how B has great gross motor skills and C has great fine motor skills. But when they are compared as “easy” vs. “hard” – that’s where I have the problem.

Someone recently commented that C “must be the high-maintenance one, right?” because she was fussing. Now, C was being held by someone she had never met before and had done great with him for over a half hour. But finally, she was tired of being in the position, facing out, being held by that person, and she was letting the room know that she needed a change. What is high-maintenance about a child who communicates? A baby who tells you she needs a change? But because I’m kind of a pushover in those situations and not nearly as assertive as I’d like to be, I neglected to say, “She’s fussing because she needs someone else to hold her, or she needs to play with some toys. She’s bored.” Instead I said, “No, she’s not high-maintenance. In fact, neither of them are and I’m very lucky.” I continued, “Actually, C really enjoys seeing and taking in what you’re doing, so I like to walk her around the house and point things out to her. B is usually fine with a few toys by himself for a while.” The response I got back was, “Well, that must be a lot easier for you then.”

Yes, I’m a little over-sensitive. But I’m just going with it. So, is C hard because she likes to learn about her world as I show her around the house? No, that’s not hard. That’s parenting. Is B easy because he can play by himself? No, that’s just B. I don’t like them being compared because my fear is that these stigmas will stick with them. Not for me or my husband, but by others, who remember C’s refluxy days or how B just slept all day. Things have changed about them, things  have stayed the same. But they aren’t easy and they aren’t hard. They’re just my two babies, different but similar, who love to look into each other’s eyes and burst out laughing, bang toys together as they attempt to shake them, grab ahold of any buttons, zippers, or knobs they can find. They’re just babies. They just do whatever they’re going to do.

I feel better having written this, to be honest. But at the same time, I know things won’t change – there will always be people ready to tell you if you have an “easy” or “hard” baby, and of course if you have two babies, you must have one of each. I know better about my children – neither are hard, neither are easy. But they’re mine, and I will always defend them.

 

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Changes.

We have been crazy busy lately. Nothing has been too different in terms of our schedule, but for whatever reason, I can’t carve out any time for myself. Now that it’s after 10, and the twins have been sleeping for 3.5 hours already, I’m finally sitting down. It’s not that I enjoy chores, but yet, I do enjoy the feeling after they are completed. The feeling of productivity – that I’m doing what is needed for my house and for my babies and I have something to show for it. After dinner clean-up, two batches of baby food, one load of cloth diapers, eight washed bottles, one nalgene bottle of formula made and a mini cleaning spree of every room on the ground floor later, and I’m done. My husband does this with me – he started the baby food and I finished, and we each took certain rooms in the house to work on. Of course, we’re going further than we normally might on a Thursday night but we have interviews this weekend. More on that in a few.

Anyway, things have been changing in my house, and that has caused me to lose my own time, and therefore blogging and sorting through pictures has taken a back seat. I love to take pictures – I do not love to sort through the hundreds that are waiting for me. That’s why I don’t like to get backed up with pictures – it’s a daunting task.

The babies had their 9 month check-up on Monday. B is just about 24 pounds, with his weight in the 90th percentile, height in the 50th, and head size – 100+. Off the charts. C had almost the exact same percentiles, except that she is 20.5 pounds. My babies apparently have big heads. The doctor was not concerned with their lack of physical development in terms of crawling and rolling around. They were born 5 weeks early after all, and she just sort of eased my worries about it. I can (and do) help them to make those strides with more tummy time, more coaxing them to shift their bodies around, but they will learn. B got his first tooth almost a month ago, and since then, 4 more have popped up. I’ve heard that when babies get their teeth late, many come at once, so that may be the case here. C still has no teeth and none to be seen under the gums either. In her own time. Luckily, B’s teeth haven’t seemed to cause him great concern – I was prepared for an insane amount of drool and to be honest, it’s not there. No bibs required.

However, naps – naps are BAD. B now takes two half hour naps a day and that’s it. C used to take two hour and 15 minute naps a day, but in the last few days, she’s been copying her brother. This is part of the reason I have no time. Luckily, they both sleep through the night. Thank goodness.

We’re hiring a nanny. Finally. We were going to hire a nanny back in February, but after doing a search last November, I basically came up empty. No one stood out to me and I wasn’t at all ready to go back to work. The mere thought of leaving my infants was the most devastating thing. I had the opportunity to stay home the rest of the school year and I decided to take it. It was the best decision I made, and I wouldn’t change it. However – now I do have to go back to work. And this time when I think about it, I don’t feel panicked. I feel – almost ready. I have no doubt I’ll be upset and more importantly, slightly paranoid, but it feels like something I’m prepared to do. I’m going to be a teacher again, and someone else is going to stay at home with my kids. I’m not currently cringing at that thought, and I always used to. This time when I did my nanny search, I wanted to make sure I found the right one. I just can’t settle.

This weekend, we have three interviews. And these three people already feel comfortable to me. They have the qualities I’m looking for – they seem like people I could trust. Granted, I haven’t met them in person yet. But at the end of the weekend, I’m hoping to have myself a nanny.

In other news, I’m thinking about making a change to my nutrition. I guess this doesn’t count as a change yet because I’m still thinking about it, but it’s there. I seem to be pretty healthy from the outside, but there are things that I wish I could change.

I’m already gluten free and that will stay – I’ve tried incorporating gluten back into my diet a few times and had terrible, painful results. I do not have Celiac’s Disease, but my stomach is clearly bothered by gluten. Interestingly enough, in college I had bouts of stomach illness almost every other day. It always occurred after dinner, and I thought stress might have caused it. A doctor called it IBS and psyllium husks helped. However, looking back I now wonder if it was related to gluten. Even though I’ve been gluten free for a while, I’ve simply replaced the gluten with other carbs. Gluten free bread, pasta, cookies – those products have added sugar to compensate for the lack of gluten. And sugar, I think, is my real enemy here.

I have chronic hives and have for years. I do know that I have flare ups when I consume sugar. Not every time, but most of the time. Yet, I eat it anyway. Why? Because it’s just too good to pass up. Even with the thought of hives that itch and cause my lips to swell – I still eat sugar. My infertility – PCOS was the main cause, but when combined with these autoimmune issues, I feel like I have a real hormonal imbalance. I have no scientific proof to this, but I wonder if sugar has something to do with it. I’m a big believer in diet changes affecting health, but I can’t seem to make the changes myself. I happened to see this on TV recently – a doctor said that you know you’re addicted to sugar if you can’t bear the thought of cutting it out of your diet. And that’s where I am.

I have cut out sugar before, and being sugar and gluten free was really challenging. What do you do for parties? For dinners out? No one wants to be the boring one, the one who can’t eat what everyone else is eating. So I tried it for a while and then I patted myself on the back for doing it for a short time and sort of relapsed, consuming all the sugar I could.

But I think for me, with my sensitive system and infertility and chronic hives – I think removing sugar from my diet would only help my body. And going sugar and gluten free wouldn’t mean that I would replace those ingredients with sugar substitutes and other types of flour – I think I really need a clean diet. Not quite Paleo necessarily, because that’s really, really hard. But eating fresh fruits, veggies, potatoes and brown rice (not giving those up) and healthy meats and fats – I just feel like I’d feel better. I haven’t made this change yet, see, because I ate all the candy today. All of it. And I’m sluggish, and tired, and gaining weight because I eat like a teenager. So in this regard, there are some changes that need to be made. I just haven’t decided if I’m going to make them or not. If I have the mental strength on tough, exhausting days NOT to reach in the cabinet and eat something junky. With sugar. Ugh.

And here are some pics from our week that I have already sorted through!

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