Thursday, May 30, 2013

Opposites



On the inside, Margaret (known at the time as ‘Baby A’) was the aggressor.  She kicked and packed a punch like you could not believe.  Emily (or, ‘Baby B’) was much more subdued.  She gave the odd kick to let me know she was doing just fine in there, but for the most part she was content to just float around.  I remember one time in particular, Baby A kicked and kicked and kicked at her sister so severely, and then I felt (and kind of saw!) two swift kicks back from Baby B and then the fighting stopped.

When the girls were newborns, I thought they were the opposite of how they were on the inside.  The opposite of how I thought they would be.  Margaret seemed much more fragile and babyish and Emily grunted constantly and was a bit more of a difficult sleeper.  I thought Emily was going to be a total bruiser and Margaret would be the subdued one, despite how they’d been in the womb.

Now I think they’re back to how they were on the inside.  Margaret is into absolutely everything, and if she isn’t pulling herself up to stand (which she is doing constantly as of the past few days), she’s kicking her legs and flailing because she wants to be on the move.  She crawls all over the place, and fast.  I had a ‘Phoebe’ moment (from Friends) 2 days ago when I left the babies in the middle of the rug in the living room and went into the kitchen for less than one minute to get Andrew a drink.  I came back, and Margaret had vanished!  I seriously had no idea where she was because she was silent and not where I’d left her.  I found her behind the chair, heading for the cords under the table – the only way she could get to them since I’d blocked the table off from the front.  (I’ve since blocked it from behind the chair, too!)  Margaret tends to require more cuddles, naps infrequently and for very short amounts of time (it seems like a few 15 minute cat naps are enough for her…not for me though, let me tell you!!)  Whereas Emily, while she’s interested in things, isn’t as eager to be on the move.  She sits and goes from laying down to sitting on her own, she rolls, and she can crawl a little bit, but she’s content to be plunked down on the floor and just play with the toys around her.  If she gets bored of that she’ll let me know, or roll a bit or crawl to get somewhere else, but for the most part she’s not in any hurry to get around.  She isn’t pulling herself up to stand, though she is steady on her feet if you hold her hands and help her stand.

It should also be noted that Emily is probably at least a pound (I think a bit more, personally, but we’ll find out for sure next week) heavier than her sister, so I think in some ways it’s easier for Margaret to get around as there isn’t as much weight holding her down!  Although, honestly, I think if Emily wants to move she will, but she’s more content to ‘just be.’

I’m not saying Emily doesn’t have her moments, but I find her ‘easier’ than Margaret in the sense that she’s not as curious to get into everything she’s not supposed to as quickly as possible!  It’s hard to say if they will switch that up again in time, as they did from the womb to newborn, and now newborn to infant.  Who knows what they’ve got in store for us!  But I will say that I think there’s a bit of a saving grace in the fact that they have somewhat opposite personalities.  If they were both crazily on the move, I would be that much more exhausted than I already am!  I couldn’t imagine it.  And while one might sometimes seem ‘easier’ than the other, I absolutely adore both of their ways.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Clarity



I had a few moments of clarity tonight, which is something I don’t feel a ton of lately.  I’m working on getting in better shape since the twins were born, starting out slow with fast walks and leading up to jogging and hopefully eventually running.  After just a few times out, I noticed tonight that I wasn’t feeling like the walk/jog was kicking my ass, so maybe that’s progress?!  It sounds SO SAD that fast walking could kick my ass EVER, because I used to speed walk everywhere and I would pass everyone in my path.  I was pretty fit despite not having a fitness regime beyond all the walking I did.  But the twin pregnancy really did a number on my fitness level.  I was immobile for so long, and then cooped up mostly inside for months when the babies were first born.  I’m at an all time low with my body image and abilities, so I’m working at changing that.  I drive everywhere now, whereas previous to 13 weeks pregnant with twins I walked A LOT and that did so much to keep me relatively fit.  I want to get back to that point.  It’s not realistic for me to walk everywhere now, and I’m certainly not going back to taking the bus now that I’ve got 3 kids, but if I can even do these brisk walks 3-4 times a week, some sit ups and other exercises on the days in between, and start jogging/running, I think I’ll get to where I want to be with my body.

It felt good tonight to be out there, by myself, listening to some music and getting fresh air.  And moving.  When I did start jogging, it felt amazing to be moving faster.  I feel awkward because it’s not something I’m used to doing, and it makes me self-conscious.  But I’m going to get over that, because I know once I do I’ll feel so much better about myself.

I realize that I have to start doing more things like this for myself.  Getting out with friends more, particularly my twin mom friends because I feel like we understand each other so well.  When we do get together, I feel so much better about things – it’s just a matter of making that effort to plan things.  I also just need more time in general to feel like I can accomplish something for me.  Whether that’s exercising, working on getting the girls’ baby books up to date, organizing the piles of things that keep adding up but I never have time for, or just napping – whatever I feel like I need to do for ME.  It’s so hard to take care of myself these days, especially as the babies are getting bigger and becoming more demanding.  It’s hard sometimes to create that balance.

I really don’t have many people who can or are willing to help us out.  My mom is waiting for knee replacement surgery, so while she can hold a baby for me on days when she’s not in total agony and is even up for a visit, mostly as much as she WANTS to be helping me she can’t.  I have an aunt and uncle who want to help, but my uncle has a heart condition that has been acting up lately and with his health being a bit iffy, they haven’t been able to look after the kids for us.  (Although they’re going to this week after the girls have their vaccinations – James and I are going to go out for dinner and it’ll be the first time we’ve been out just the two of us for I’m guessing almost 3 months!)  Most of our family either doesn’t live near us, is estranged from us (James’ brother isn’t speaking to us, and his mom is hot and cold, currently cold, and ‘threatening’ to move across the country…long story...sigh), or isn’t that into spending time with children.  The few people who used to tell us they wanted to look after the kids for us seem to have dropped off the face of the earth.  Everyone just says, ‘Twins and an older child too, I don’t know how you do it!’ and leave it at that.  No offers of help.  I was maybe a bit sad about that before, because I think when people do have a lot of free time or their kids are older and no longer at this stage, they either don’t realize or forget how challenging it is to never really have time for one’s self, or sometimes even more importantly, time with one’s partner.  I just want to be able to go out for dinner and an evening stroll, or dinner and a movie maybe, with my husband.  Seems like such a simple thing, but for us it’s basically impossible.  You might argue that this is the life we chose so now we face the consequences, and I suppose that’s partially true, although I do think if we ‘only’ had one baby and not twins, more people would feel up to helping us.  People are overwhelmed by TWO babies and a 4 year old.  I understand why, I would be too if I wasn’t forced into it being my reality!  But I manage being on my own with all 3 pretty much every single day of the week with about an hour break per day (after dinner) and help from James on the weekends.  For someone seriously lacking in the patience department, someone who never in a million years imagined herself with twins, I’m doing pretty darn well with it!  (And I'm so SO happy I have the 3 kids that I do!)  So a few hours shouldn’t be sooooo bad for people helping out?!!!

We just don’t have anyone, though, and we’ve kind of had to accept that as a fact.  So we’ve decided we’re going to sit down (one day when we’re able to sit down and discuss things without interruption – who knows when that will actually be?!) and really work out a more firm budget than we’ve been going by, so we can work at putting some money aside to hire some help.  We’re considering someone for just a few hours at a time maybe 3 times a week.  Not totally sure yet, it’s not something I ever imagined doing, but I feel like if I lose myself entirely, eventually I will snap.  I’m doing pretty well lately and while I don’t feel things are ‘easier’ now per se, I do feel like I’m more used to what I’ve got going on, and it’s not AS overwhelming as it was in the beginning.  It’s still very challenging having 2 babies at once, though.  I just need a bit of time here and there to do whatever I need or want to get done in that moment!  I’m kind of nervous about the process of finding someone I feel comfortable leaving my kids with, but I also feel excited by the prospect of the few hours it would give me. 

Quick update on things before I have to go tuck Andrew into bed…We went to my bro and sil’s yesterday and my nana and aunt came over from the island for a visit.  My aunt has twin girls too (who are in their 40s now!)  It was a nice visit and all 3 kids were so well behaved.  The babies are really starting to crawl now, Margaret in particular.  She is getting pretty fast, too!  Emily does crawl but isn’t as interested in moving around.  She’s usually content to just sit and play with her toys around her.  If she happens to fall over when she reaches for something too far, she’ll then roll around or crawl a bit to get somewhere else.  Margaret is just desperate to be into absolutely everything, just like how Andrew was.  Her 2nd tooth is coming in, so both girls have 2 teeth, although Emily’s have sprouted up quite high already!  One of Margaret’s is quite big but the other one just broke through a few days ago.  They are SO CUTE!  They both figured out how to go from laying down to sitting up by themselves on May 23rd, which I thought was cool - achieving a milestone together!  They are loving their solids and eat purees 3 times a day, they sometimes have yogurt, they love baby mum mum crackers and baby cookies.  They’ll eat pieces of banana, cheerios a little bit.  They LOVE smoothies, I tend to make those regularly these days and they always have some.  They drink water from their sippy cups.  They mostly have formula now but I’m still nursing them, sometimes 3 times a day but it’s getting more like 2 times a day as of this past week.  Emily hasn’t nursed at all for I think about 3 days now.  Or she will but for like 2 seconds and then she freaks out and takes a bottle right away.  Margaret still gets comforted from nursing so I’m hoping to keep it up for a while yet.  I try not to stress about it, if I nurse great, if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world.  I still stress about it a little bit, but I’m working on just being OK with whatever happens.  If they end up fully on formula sooner than later, it’s really not that big of a deal.  They’re growing up so fast, it won’t be long before both breastfeeding AND formula are a thing of the past!  At this point I'm just enjoying the moment that we're in.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A short 'girls update'



About 3 days ago I noticed Margaret’s first tooth just breaking through her gums, and it has started sprouting a little more each day since.  It’s just barely cracked through, but it’s there.  It’s the same ‘first tooth’ that Emily got.  SO DARN CUTE!  Emily’s first two are REALLY sprouting now and she loves to grin and show them off.  They are way too cute for words.  I’m totally going to miss their gummy grins but little baby teeth are so adorable.  Still very little symptoms with regards to teething.  Other than drooling and sometimes showing slight signs of a little rash around her mouth (but barely), Emily is basically showing no signs whatsoever.  No extra fussiness or need for extra cuddles or waking extra in the night.  Margaret was up for an unusually long stretch through the night last night (to the point she spent her very first night, around 3am, in our bed nursing back to sleep.  The babies haven’t co-slept with us at all otherwise).  She’s seemed a little needier for extra cuddles lately.  But over all her symptoms are very slight compared to how they can be for teething babies.  I really can’t complain there! 

Other than last night, the babies have started sleeping through the night.  Not every night, but they will often sleep for good long stretches of time.  Or just wake up once anywhere from 1-4:30am.  I am basically ‘on duty’ with them till midnight or sometimes 1am, and then James takes them on throughout the rest of the night.  I still don’t feel rested though.  It still takes me a long time to fall asleep at night even though I’m dead tired, so I usually get 5-6 hours of sleep.  I feel like that’s actually a lot – for someone like me, I feel like that’s considered a full night’s sleep.  But I’m sh*t tired every single day by about 3-4 in the afternoon, and generally feel somewhat exhausted the entire day, truthfully.  I think it’s just the logistics of constantly fetching things for Andrew or playing with him, and one or two babies more often than not needing me for something, and having to fit house maintenance and cooking and running errands etc in somewhere, too.  It’s go go go, and I like that I’m busy but at the same time if I felt rested and energized, I feel like I could so much more…for the kids, for myself, just in general.  But oh well, I do the best I can!

Both girls are working hard at crawling, and DO crawl a bit at a time.  Margaret started doing that first but Emily has definitely started working at it too, and she rolls now like she’s making up for lost time, since Margaret rolled for over a month before her.  Our ‘Superyard’ arrived today, (and I got the expansion pack) so I’ve sectioned off half the living room (thank gawd it’s a huge room!) to make it safe for the girls.  It’s basically a big ‘gated community’ for the babies to play in, so when I have to leave the room to make dinner or whatever and I don’t always want to bring them with me, they can be confined to a safe play zone.  We didn’t have anything like that when Andrew was small, but we had a tiny apartment (under 600 sq ft total) and I used our furniture in creative ways to confine him to one area if need be.  Plus I only had him, so that was easy peasy compared to what I’m up against now!  I also can’t see the living room from any other room in the house, so I don’t feel good about just leaving them in Andrew’s care, like I do now.  He’s good about telling me if they need something and I’m not there in that moment, but obviously I can’t rely completely on a 4 year old to REALLY always be watching out for them!  So far they haven’t really spent time in the Superyard, but Andrew has, and he loves it because it’s new and he thinks it’s a little room just for him!  lol

The other day Margaret was laying on the couch and I was sitting beside her.  James was behind the couch in the ‘formal dining room’ that we use more for miscellaneous stuff.  He was sitting at the desk and Margaret was straining to look up at him.  She actually grabbed a hold of the couch cushion, hoisted herself up, and stood there grinning at him!  She stood up like that, holding herself up without any help, for about 10 seconds before she wobbled and fell over.  There is no way she should be able to do that already!  Both girls are super steady on their feet if we just barely help to hold them up.  Basically they will hold onto our fingers and just stand there.  It’s amazing.  Apparently no one gave them the memo that they were born a month early, because they haven’t shown any signs of being behind on any milestones!

Time to tuck the boy into bed…More later!  I want to write a post about the funny things he’s been saying lately…he really is too much!

Outdoor Living



My dad took the day off work today and built us a deck for our little front yard space.  It was so non-functional the way it was, with a tiny cement pad and then some dirt, which always turned to mud when it rained and just made a total mess everywhere.  We have planters and pots with plants and flowers, and we didn’t want to plant any of them directly since we want to be able to easily take everything with us when we move (which hopefully won’t be for a long time, but still!)  My dad built the deck to take up just about the entire yard space, with enough room around it for our planters and pots on top of bark mulch.  (Mulch, what an awesomely weird word!)  I’ll post pictures once we’ve got the yard completely how we want it, with befores and afters. 

I already LOVE the little yard, though.  I bought a Little Tikes play structure for out there off Craiglist for 10 bucks which was an absolute steal.  It’s basic, just a little climber and slide, and a little small for Andrew’s age group (although it’s new to him so when I put it together tonight he was quite happy to play on it, even in the bit of rain coming down!)  But I wanted to get it for when the girls start toddling and will get some use out of it too.  Which won’t be for a while yet, I’m aware, but I was just so excited to score such a great deal, I couldn’t pass it up!  Andrew has his basketball hoop out there, too, which he’s had since he was about 2.  It was over in Nanaimo at my parents’ house when they still lived there.  He only played with it a little bit but now he’s loving it and wants to go outside specifically to play with it.  So I’m happy about that.  I just love having a fenced in space where he can play and I know he’s completely safe.

After the front yard is complete (which won’t take much), my dad is going to help tackle the back yard.  I love that we have so much outdoor space!  It’s modest for sure, it’s not like we have acres of land.  I wish our backyard was more sectioned off than it is, but it’s still fairly private.  Andrew will use his pool out there in the summer, and it’s where we’ve got our table and chairs, but I wanted the fenced in yard to be his play area because I can be in the kitchen cooking dinner or whatever and he can be out there playing without me worrying about him.  I foresee the space getting a lot of use.

Here’s hoping the weather improves so we can spend a good chunk of time out there over the long weekend!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Enjoying the spring that feels like summer



I’ve been getting a few things done here and there, bit by bit.  The girls are keeping  me busier than ever though, between their rarity to ever nap at the same time during the day, and their increased need for entertainment. 

Andrew was downtown today so I managed to get a few things done in between making sure the girls were happy.  I was particularly pleased to finally get out into our little front yard space to start raking the leaves up and tidy it a bit.  My dad is going to help get our front and back yards spruced up, because he loves to garden and because I don’t have time to do it.  I’d love to get into gardening one day, aside from hating/being slightly terrified of bugs, I think I could really get into it!  It’s so relaxing.  But this isn’t really the time – as it was, I had to rake in several stages because one or both babies wasn’t content to be without me for enough time to get it done in one go.  At one point Emily was asleep in the stroller after we’d been out for a walk, so I put Margaret in her high chair and faced her toward the yard so she could watch me.  She did – she seemed mesmerized by the raking and sweeping, and every time I looked through the window at her she would smile.  It was pretty cute!  Originally my dad was going to do something with the front yard space that I think would look really nice, but for practicality reasons I’m thinking we might go a more tacky route and put astro-turf down over the entire thing and just have a few pots with my herb garden etc, but basically make it the kids’ play area.  It’s fenced so I’d feel safe letting Andrew play out there without me having to worry as much.  The back yard can be done up with a bit more to make it feel like an adult space, aside from the kiddie pool that will be out that way!

I loved the walk I took the girls on.  It wasn’t to anywhere in particular, just a walk-about, a fast-paced one as I’m wanting to get myself in better shape.  It felt like a work out going up hills given that I was pushing probably about 60 or more pounds between the stroller and the weight of the girls.  It felt GREAT to be out in the hot sun, getting some fresh air, AND feeling like I was getting some exercise. 

After dinner I gave the babies their first bath together!  In the big tub, but in a laundry basket.  That way they could both sit up and it would be harder for them to fall over.  It wasn’t necessarily EASY because if one started to slip, it was a bit of a struggle hoisting them up and making sure they weren’t hitting into the other etc.  It’s so much more complicated bathing 2 babies than it is one!  And yes, I can bathe one after the other, which is what I’ve done up till this point, but if I’m on my own and the other baby is fussing, I have to be so quick about it and I feel like they each end up getting totally gipped on the amount of bath time they get to experience.  They really seem to enjoy the water, Margaret especially, and I KNOW they’d like to explore it more and splash and have fun, but the logistics of two babies makes that difficult.  Once they’re a bit bigger and can just be put in the tub together without worrying they could fall over, it’ll be so much easier!!





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