We have officially been home a month and a half and parenthood is in full effect. We are most keenly aware of this when we need to get up to feed the girls every couple of hours at night. Sara and I are slowly adjusting to their schedules and have been taking “shifts” during the night so we both get some sleep. When I am up, I will feed, diaper and put both of them back to bed and then hand the stopwatch off to Sara and she will do the next shift. This has been our life. There have been a few sticky situations with this plan, like dealing with two screaming babies, feeding two at one time, dual projectile spitups, poops, etc. That being said, there have also been times in the middle of the night that I have been able to hold and cuddle these beautiful babies and just feel so incredibly thankful of the miracle that many will never fully understand.
I’ve gotta say, we are so damn lucky, but as most parents will admit, this whole parenting thing is some really tough $h%t! I’m not going to be that parent that seems to know it all and I won’t be throwing around a lot of advice. However, this first month and a half has taught me a few things that may help others.
1. Under no circumstances should you ever talk to your spouse in the middle of the night.
This goes both ways. Nothing good ever comes out of a sleep deprived conversation at 3:31. I’ve talked about 3:31am in a few other posts and it really is a time when nobody should be up, let alone talking. There are very few people up during this time, and most of them are nurses and meth heads. If you don’t fit into one of these two categories and you’re not a parent, then you’ve been up drinking way too late and will pay heavily for it tomorrow. You should get your butt into bed right now!
2. Sleep when you can and try and plan for it!
Sleep deprivation is for real. I’ve have always been one of those people that needs a bedtime, and I’ve never really been sleep deprived until now. As a kid, my dad would say, “It’s 8:10, time for bed.” After hearing this I would get up without a word and my parents would tuck me in. I never fought this. Ever. As a college student, I NEVER pulled an all-nighter. To say that the first few weeks having the girls at home was tough is an understatement. Sleep deprivation feels like a combination of that feeling you get right before you get sick, coupled with a slight hangover that lasts indefinitely. My main point is that you need to sleep when the babies do. Honestly, I’ve heard this from a lot of people and it’s harder than it sounds. When I get done feeding, diapering and putting the girls back down at 3:32 am, I immediately get into bed and tell myself to sleep. I want to sleep!!! However, for some reason, I cannot turn my mind off. I totally psych myself out. I want it so bad, but I just cannot do it. So I sit in bed staring up at the ceiling thinking about weird things like, “I cannot believe that guy didn’t sell his Swedish thermometer for $500” (on that episode of Pawn Stars I watched while feeding Bryn). Or I sit and think about how to solve a rubix cube. Weird stuff like that. My advice is to make a plan to TRY to sleep when you can. As a teacher, I try to plan for everything and sleeping is no exception. When I go back to school next week I have a plan to take a 20 minute nap in the parking lot before I go home. Coworkers, I ask you to refrain from knocking on the windows and laughing at me because like I said, “Sleep deprivation is for real.”
3. Speaking of the Rubix Cube, parenting is very similar. It’s hard, so don’t feel bad when you don’t have all of the answers.
Let’s face it, the Rubix cube is dang near impossible and does anyone really have it figured out? Everyone knows that the only real way to solve the Rubix cube is to pick off all of the colored stickers and then put them back on correctly. After fixing the Rubix cube I would advise you to carry it around and constantly pull it out to show your friends and family how brilliant you are. When they question you on why all of the stickers are rough around the edges, just tell them that so many people have been marveling at how smart you are by rubbing the stickers which have caused them to peel slightly. When they don’t believe that, tell them to get lost because you are sleep deprived. Okay so my main point is that, like the Rubix cube, parenting is tough. You won’t have all the answers and all of those books that you read about how to handle different parenting situations won’t work either. Be prepared to fail and be okay with it. Every kid is different so the books won’t always be right. One thing that I did get from the books that is fairly consistent is: Do not drop your child. Just in case you didn’t know, dropping your baby could cause some brain damage. I haven’t done that, even in my sleep deprived state so that’s good.
In light of sleeping less, being up at weird times, and having a few challenges here and there… WE are SOOOOO lucky to have these incredibly cute little wonders in our lives.
By the way, I decided check out the interweb to see if there was a way to solve the Rubix cube. To my surprise, there is a way to do so without removing the stickers. Weird. Apparently, you will need to watch this 30 minute video, which I believe is more of a challenge than actually solving the Rubix Cube.
Yeah, yeah. We know how long it’s been since our last post. Soorrrrrrrrry! The “lather, rinse, repeat” cycle of having 4-month-olds-that-are-really-more-like-newborns has kept us just a wee bit busy. The weekly weigh-ins with the home health nurse show we must be doin’ something right, because these little nuggets just keep gettin’ fatter!
Since they now have legit baby fat rolls, we decided to try a little naked baby photo shoot, envisioning peaceful black and white photos of sleeping babies hugging each other, no instagram filter even needed. Four hundred and twenty-three photos later, we had an iphone camera roll full of screaming babies trying to eat each other’s faces.
We managed to get ONE sorta good one:
All you baby photographers out there–props to you. (Now come take pictures of our babies).
We had a great Thanksgiving, with both sets of grandparents in attendance. Mom and dad happily gave up a few feeding shifts to the eager grampas, and we even got out for a walk before the temps plummeted and it started spitting ice.
We also found a nice little surprise on our doorstep Thanksgiving morning!
A reporter at the Star Tribune saw our blog post on the Children’s Hospital website and came out for an interview and photo shoot! We were expecting a little ditty maybe in the local section–not a front page spread! Little humbling to be next to an article about the cease-fire, huh? The article and the rest of the photos are here:http://www.startribune.com/local/180451541.html.
It was fun to see the reactions:
So besides the obvious feeding, diapering and sleeping, you might be wondering what we do all day. A large majority of the day is spent in the milk lab:
The rest of the day is typically spent trying to have tummy time. Tummy time usually goes something like this:
1. Mom and dad put babies in the boppies
2. Stories are read, rattles are shaken, funny noises are made, poses are struck
3. Babies fall asleep
4. Mom and dad leave the room for 10 seconds of freedom to pee, brush teeth or carb load for the next round
5. Mom and dad return to find babies in one of these positions:
Nora has packed on enough L-Bs that we’ve been able to try some non-fortified milk straight from the source. I already have dreams of one day ceremoniously chucking the milker into Lake Nokomis (….or just ceremoniously returning it to Allina Home Medical Supply–whatever). Won’t be anytime soon, though, as little Bryn still needs all her milk fortified with extra calories. I asked the ped if I could just eat the formula myself and then throw her on the boob, but apparently it doesn’t work that way. Sigh. The lake is frozen over now anyway.
We’ve had several visitors, which has made flu-season-homebound-lockdown a little more bearable, and has also given us a reason to put on clean underwear some days. To those of you who have visited, thanks for disinfecting yourselves upon arrival!
And to those visitors who have brought food or diapers, we were even MORE excited to see you! If you didn’t bring anything, and we handed you 3 garbage bags of dirty diapers on your way out, thanks for taking those out to the alley for us.