Sunday, June 28, 2009

off the cuff is out the window

Okay, so I'm not stupid. I have always understood that babies are pretty needy. Smart girl that I am, at some point while I was pregnant with two babies, it occurred to me that my life might soon change a little.

But I don't think you can really appreciate the depth and pervasiveness of that change until it happens to you. Until your brain is puttering along on 4 scattered hours of sleep and you notice that you're wearing the same clothes you had on yesterday, and you really can’t muster the energy to care. Until your arm gets numb from jiggling a crying baby as you watch the window lighten at dawn, and you realize dimly that this is what people are talking about when they say that babies keep you up at night.

I think that the hardest thing to adjust to, though, is not a crying baby or sleep deprivation. It's the fact that I have been tossed into a completely foreign existence, and there is no end in sight. I remember hearing a mother once talk about caring for her three-year-old son who had severe cognitive impairments and health issues. She said it felt like she and her husband were surviving in "crisis mode" to get sleep, food, etc.--but that the "crisis mode" just never ended. That's sort of what I feel like, only not nearly that dramatic. It feels like I've made crazy changes to my life to get through a crazy situation, like taking extra deep breaths and focusing to get myself through the last few laps as I run on a track. But this time, when I squint toward the end of the track to see how far there is to go... there's no end! For the foreseeable future, my life revolves in three-hour segments of feeding, sleeping, and changing, with bouts of crying and rocking peppered in for flavor.

And it's not that bad--it sounds kind of depressing on the surface, but it's nice to be in a routine and know what to expect. It just takes a whole different lifestyle and frame of mind than I've ever had.

Want to know my newest revelation? I am TIRED of planning!! Me, the princess of plans, wants to abdicate the throne. Because now I'm not just planning on a large scale. I have to plan every single minute in order to get anything done. I have to plan LAUNDRY. Laundry! I hate laundry! And now I have to make advanced effort just to fit it into the day! Because if I just wait until the moment strikes me, as I've always done, it won't happen. I will think of it just as a baby starts crying, or after 10:00, when I really need to drop everything and sleep or I'll never get any rest. Because I need to plan when I will sleep, too! My life has no spontaneity at all anymore!

That's not even all, though--the real kick in the pants is that things will NEVER turn out the way I planned them! I feel a little like that Greek guy who had to roll the boulder up a hill and watch it roll down again, over and over for all eternity.

And now, because I am overly dramatic when I describe things and people reading this may think I am nearing suicidal levels of depression, let me just say that I am fine. WE are fine. If this is torture, then it's fairly pleasant torture. And there are many good moments. Both babies broke from the plan yesterday and slept soundly through a two-hour car ride, including an hour of stop-and-go traffic. Noah gave me a very cute and very real half-smile this morning. And Lily got lots of compliments on her tiny baby bracelet at church today. So I suppose we may make it after all.

Until they start teething, of course.

In other news, we are growing massive babies. As of last Friday, the kiddos were 5 weeks old. Lily weighed 6 lbs, 14 oz, and Noah weighed 8 lbs, 1 oz! So she has gained a pound and a half, and he has gained three pounds!! These kids are actually going to make it onto the growth charts! It is sadder than I expected to watch Noah outgrow his cute little newborn clothes. I’m going to have to buy outfits in three consecutive sizes when I really like them, so I can enjoy them for more than a couple of weeks.

And now for pictures! Here is Noah in his gangsta hat.

And Lily in her ladybug outfit, complete with hat. Unfortunately, the outfit is newborn sized and the hat is much bigger...

Unka Mark, taking a quick moment to relax with baby twins before heading back to Illinois.

Grandma with babies. (Noah is not feeling photogenic.)

Grandma and Grandpa with our little fam.

I think I forgot to post a picture of Scott's parents when they were here a few weeks ago. So here they are:

Monday, June 22, 2009

a month of babyness

It's extraordinarily hard to believe, but Noah and Lillian are a whole month old today! In some ways it feels like they can't be that old, and in other ways it feels like they've been around forever. As wonderful as it is to see them change and learn and grow, it's a little sad to lose my teensy little newborns. Well, Lily still looks and feels like a newborn. Noah is starting to feel more like a large sack of flour. (A sack of flour with a tongue.) As of today, Lily weighs 6 lbs, 8 oz, which means she has gained a pound and 3 ounces. Noah weigs 7 lbs, 7 oz, which means he has gained two pounds and five ounces!! He is determined to be huge, I think. But as much as they are growing, they still have a ways to go. Noah is finally on the growth chart at the 5th percentile for one-month-olds, but Lily is still somewhere below the 5th percentile, although she appears to be gaining ground. (It's hard to tell--the little boxes on those growth charts are pretty miniscule!)

The babies have really started staying awake for longer periods, holding up their heads, and looking at things around them. We've even gotten a couple of smiles from them that seem like they couldn't have been completely accidental. Lily has teensy little biceps and calf muscles, no doubt from her constant kicking and flailing. We're pretty sure she'd be gaining more weight if she didn't burn off so many calories all the time! Mr. Noah is still calm and patient, and can entertain himself for quite awhile on the play mat or bouncer. He has recently perfected making the sound of an old, creaky door closing.

And now for some pictures...

Noah with Grandma, doing what he does best: (Well, second best if you count eating.)
Lily, taking a moment from her sport of giraffe-kicking to cast a knowing glance at the camera

Lily with her daddy

Cute baby feet, in cute hand-knitted socks that my friend Kate sent me. Her grandmother made these socks for Kate's new baby, but she had a normal-to-large sized offspring and these socks were apparently a better fit for dinky little feet.

And one more of sweet, sleepy Noah...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

40 weeks

The twins are due tomorrow! Oh, wait...

I can't believe how much the babies have changed in just 3 weeks. Noah is putting on so much weight it's ridiculous. He developed a double chin sometime last week and he may have a third one soon. I want to weigh him every day because I can feel him getting heavier. Lily has turned into a very alert little baby. She stays awake several periods every day, looking around and grunting. She picks her head up really well, too! Noah is also working on lifting his head, but is a bit slower about it. I think he should get a little extra consideration for having such a massive noggin on such a tiny neck.

Every day they get a little more different from each other, too. From the shape of their eyes and faces to their temperaments (and, okay, their respective boy/girl parts), they are two very different people. Noah is calm and easygoing for the most part. You pick him up, feed him, change his diaper, and put him back in his bed for the next nap time, and you usually don't hear from him until he gets hungry again. (Which, amazingly, follows pretty closely to the three-hour schedule we are trying to follow. He may be very punctual when he grows up.)

Lily, on the other hand, gets a bit more interesting. She is quick to let you know when she is hungry. Or tired. Or whether the position you have had her in for 30 seconds has gotten uninteresting. Or whether she'd really like wrapped up in a blanket. Or unwrapped. And she is even quicker to let you know when she is REALLY upset about any of those things after approximately 3 seconds of grumbling. And she's not exactly precise in letting you know what it is that's bothering her. (It becomes like some sort of game show where you try and figure out what the answer is before the time runs out. But nobody gives you any money for figuring it out...)

But she keeps things exciting, that's for sure. And she is so alert and responsive, I think she'll be a really bright and interesting (if somewhat intense) little kid. She's definitely going to be a cuddler, that's for sure. I feel bad sometimes for poor Noah, who doesn't get snuggled 24 hours a day simply because he's not crying all the time. But he seems happy enough, and I suppose he may forgive me someday.

We took the babies to get pictures taken yesterday. I have always enjoyed the cute pictures I've seen of sweet, peaceful babies sleeping in serene little poses. I had always wondered how they got the babies to sleep so well. Want to know the secret? They don't! Noah was fairly unconscious for our little photo shoot, but Lily was her usual awake and active little self. They pretty much had to take the pictures while she was blinking. The effect is pretty good though. Here is a sampling of the best shots...



And both babies:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

diaper rash and other adventures

Okay, so diaper rash is one of those things that I expected to have to deal with, at least at some point. Not sure I was prepared for week-old babies to have it, but such is life I suppose. Several days ago Noah's little bottom started looking a bit red and he started to let us know he'd much rather skip his diaper changes, thank you very much. Pretty soon Lily started to follow suit. Before we knew it, and despite liberal application of various ointments, our little babies had icky red cracks and open spots all around their little poopers. We got fairly worried about it, and were glad we had a doctor's appointment coming up in a couple of days. I was prepared to be told that they were severely allergic to all kinds of food in my diet, that they had weird skin-munching intestinal worms, or all sorts of other horrible things.

So we went to the doctor yesterday and expressed our deep concern over our kiddos' wounded bottoms. The nurse and doctor took quick looks under their diapers and gave us some samples of diaper rash creme. Apparently what we thought was an extreme case of bottom ickiness is nothing more than mild diaper rash. Mild!! God bless the poor little babies with the severe cases!

In other news, the babies are growing! Lillian is up to 5 lbs, 9 oz. And Noah has hit 6 pounds!! The way he eats, I wasn't surprised at his gaining more weight than her, but... 6 pounds! He's like a normal baby size! Normally they're content if babies regain their birth weight by their 2 week appointment--let alone gain nearly a pound! My days of toting little teensy babies are definitely numbered, anyway. It makes me wonder if Noah is going to turn out to be some hulking beast of a boy.
Several people have asked us how the animals are adjusting to the new additions. They're doing really, really well, thankfully. Both Hank and Dakota know that the babies are off-limits unless they're given permission to sniff. And Cooper has decided that little baby people are even less worthy of his kitty attention than the grown-up variety. We do think they are bothered by their relative lack of attention lately, though. Yesterday Dakota tried to convince us she could defy gravity and walk on the wall, just to get a bit of notice.

Since the babies are less-than-interactive at the moment, Scott has been looking for ways to increase their entertainment value. Noah appears to be constantly hungry, and will generally attempt to drink from anything within 6 inches of his face. One time, he seemed very interested in Lily's ear. (She was not impressed.) We tried to repeat the little scenario by pushing their little heads together, but apparently Noah had decided his sister's ear was not a good source of nourishment:

And one more picture, just because they're so stinking cute...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

free Lily!

Okay, so they're actually both free from their bili lights now, but "free babies!" didn't quite have the same ring to it. It's been so nice to hang out in the living room and not have to just hold and nurse babies back in a semi-darkened bedroom! They definitely look healthier too, and their poo has turned an oh-so-appetizing shade of yellow, which is yet another sign that the bilirubin is gone.

We had a lovely visit from Page and her youngest girl Emma Claire on Monday and Tuesday. Page has three little girls very close together, so I asked her a lot of novice mommy questions. Unfortunately, poor Emma Claire is teething and was feeling kind of puny and clingy while she was here. She did find time to give some of the twins' baby toys and books a test run, and highly approved of them.

We took our first non-mandatory outing with the babies today and went for a walk. Scott was the designated baby-pusher, which allowed me to hover relentlessly and adjust blankets and sunshades every five feet.

In case it wasn't obvious from the first picture, the kids were thoroughly impressed with their new experience:

They're excited. They're just hiding it really well.