Some of my friends who had kids before I had mine told me about how days as a mother are long but the weeks fly by. I actually didn't feel that way until this past couple of weeks. I think part of it had to do with my pumping schedule. I was pumping seven or eight times a day, which meant that it always felt like it was time to pump again--it was its own form of torture, but it made the days go by more quickly. Now I've dropped down to five pumps a day which has been great for my sanity but has also changed the way I gauge time during the day.
Additionally and more importantly, the boys have become really terrible nappers. It actually stresses me out just to type this out about nap time. They're currently taking between 4 and 5 naps a day, each of those lasting between 20 and 35 minutes. It is my greatest struggle right now. When I'm on my own during the day, I have to put them both down for naps, and IT IS HARD. They are both fussy when they're tired, which is at the same time (by design), and perhaps you can just imagine the logistics of trying to rock two babies to sleep at once, when both babies have their preferences for how they like to be rocked and held. Micah in particular is so very hard to get down for naps. He fights sleep like crazy, fusses and fusses no matter how he is held, and then more often than not wakes up immediately when he is put down. If I'm lucky enough to get him down asleep, he only lasts 20 minutes asleep, even though it took me a solid 20 to 30 minutes to get him down.
I have also tried days where I stagger their naps. It's not any better, but actually worse since it means that I never get any break at all from a baby needing me, and I have to find a way to entertain one alert baby while I rock the other to sleep.
I remember when I was in the early days of pregnancy, Brandon and I went to Babies R Us. We walked around the store, checking out all the gear that parents are expected to buy these days. I remember in particular coming across a Mamaroo. If you're not familiar with this, it's a type of swing that's meant to mimic what a baby feels when being held by his/her mother. It reminds us of a spaceship. I remember seeing the price tag and saying, "Who would spend that much money on a swing?!" Well, folks, I would. That's who. So many people swear by it, and we just got to that point where money became much less important than the potential benefit to my sanity at naptime. I've definitely come to realize that sleep trumps pretty much everything for me--my own sleep and the boys' sleep. If either or both of those are out of whack, it makes everything twenty times harder.
My next greatest struggle is feeding time. Feeding has become a game of Russian Roulette, particularly with Jonah. More than half the time, he starts crying right away during feedings and arches his back. If this happens, it takes 10-20 minutes to calm him to the point where he will eat. I'm not sure if it's gas, reflux, or teething. We've been going through them all. They're still on medication for reflux and still taking probiotics. Whatever it is, it has made my plan of pumping and feeding both boys at the same time a complete and utter failure. It's just. not. possible.
Despite those challenges, these little guys are extremely cute and fun during their happy moments. As precious and tiny as they were as brand newborns, I admit that I really prefer them being more interactive. Being able to make them smile and laugh is so rewarding. Having said that, each day I feel torn between feelings of wanting time to slow down so they don't grow so fast but also wanting time to speed up so that we can get past these tough nap and feeding time issues that are making days so very difficult right now.
Three weeks ago, we were able to bless the boys in church. It worked out that Brandon's parents were able to be in town for the blessing. The boys did wonderfully during their blessings and during the rest of the meeting. It was so nice to see so many family and friends who all gathered at our house after the meeting! We felt so loved!
The following weekend, we braved an overnighter at my parents' house. Armed with what felt like every single one of our earthly possessions, we headed out. We spent some good family time there before realizing that I had actually forgotten my pumping parts. Yuge mistake. I had already waited much too long between pumping sessions, so I scrambled to the store to buy some replacement parts. Our night was pretty awful--the boys were stirring almost the entire night, so I didn't sleep well at all. I also felt like I caught about 30 minutes total of conference--a net low for sure. I was really hoping to be able to watch more since I haven't felt so in need of conference in a long time. Having said all that, we survived it all! And we spent some really nice time with family. My sister Sarah was in town with her daughter Kaisa, and we got to spend time with them, which is always a highlight!
In the chaos of mothering twins, sometimes I have these epiphany-like moments where I realize that I am these boys' mother. Duh, I know. But really, I get so caught up in getting all of us through the day alive that it's easy to forget why I'm doing all the things I do. No one on this earth will love Micah and Jonah more than I do or advocate for them like I will. That's amazing! And such a responsibility, as well. One of the wonderful things about them growing older is that I'm starting to see how they recognize me as their mom. The way they stare at me, the way they sometimes whine when I'm not in sight. The other day my mom was here helping out because I had gotten sick, the boys had a bad night, and I had a plugged duct. We were in the kitchen with Micah, and he started giving me the sweetest, adoring smiles. It was like they were reserved just for his mommy, and it made me cry (stealth mode cry). I'm really enjoying feeling that mother-son connection with both boys as it continues to strengthen.
Now for some things about Micah:
He continues to be our little observer. He watches the world around him with wide eyes, and it's like he can't get enough of it. He's been bringing his fist in front of his face for a couple of weeks now, and it's really adorable how he stares at it (and often hits himself in the face with it, too.) Now that he's vocalizing more (a LOT more), we know that he has the cutest little raspy voice! He loves the changing table, and it's the place where he talks the most. There is something about the wall above the changing table that catches both boys' eyes. It is no different than the rest of the wall, but Micah in particular will just smile and coo at it for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. I really have wondered if he's seeing something with his fresh-from-heaven eyes that we aren't seeing.
Micah is not a binkie-lover. The only time he'll take one is if he's been asleep, I've attempted to put him down, and he's started fussing because he's woken up. Then he'll take it (after four or five attempts to give it to him), only to lose it and get mad that he lost it a couple minutes later. If you offer him a binkie in any other situation, he will make a face of utter disgust. As I mentioned above, he is a short-napper. The only time he will nap longer is if he is being held. Every once in a blue moon, he will take a longer nap if he's on his tummy, but putting him down onto his tummy is like playing Operation.
I love Micah's bottom lip--it's pouty and often you can't even see his upper lip. I am also really loving his big smiles. He opens his mouth real wide, and you get a great view of those lower gums. His eyes light up, as well, and it's just adorable! When he cries, he still squawks quite a bit. It's kind of entertaining because, if he's been really crying and then gets picked up, he calms down right away but then will squawk a few more times to remind you that he hasn't forgotten that he's mad.
Some things about Jonah:
Jonah is our little volatile boy. He is both ends of the spectrum, often within seconds. Just today he woke up from his nap screaming. I picked him up and rocked him as he continued wailing, and then all of a sudden, he was smiling with his huge, gummy smiles. It would've been really strange if it hadn't been so amusing and cute. This boy can cry and cry until he's purple in the face and can't breathe. One of his many cries produces the most adorable, heart-breaking sad lip you've ever seen.
Jonah is a smiler. I love it about him. He will just watch and watch you until you smile at him, and he is always ready with a goofy and sometimes bashful grin, full of his baby gums! I can't be in a bad mood when I see this kid smile. Speaking of smiles and gums, Jonah is teething (we're probably still a ways out from an actual tooth), but he loves having his gums rubbed. It will sometimes even calm him from his crying (no easy task), and then he'll smile as you rub his gums with his Soothie. He takes a binkie for naptimes, but he'll spit it out once he's done with it, which is so nice.
Jonah is our people-watcher. Where Micah stares and stares at the world around him, Jonah stares and stares at the people around him. His bright little eyes will gaze at you for ages and ages. His eyes will follow you around the room until he can't possibly see you anymore. He also clasps his hands a lot of the time, and it kills me. It actually reminds me of my Grandpa Neal which is fitting since Jonah's middle name is Maxwell for Grandpa Neal.
Jonah sleeps better, in general, than Micah. He still does a lot of 20 minute naps, but he will give me 45 minutes once a day. At night, he isn't the one who wakes up 95% of the time. He gets woken up to eat because Micah has woken up. He's so happy in the mornings, and he gets these bursts of energy where he just starts flailing his limbs every which way. It's awesome.
We are sure loving these boys a whole lot! They are the sweetest, most entertaining little tykes. Life is crazy with them, most definitely, and sometimes it's crazy difficult, but the love we feel for them helps us through those times.
Our house continues to make progress! We should be in by mid-June, and we're pretty darn excited about it. They already have the sheetrock up, mudded, and taped now, so these pictures are quite outdated. We like going out to check out what things are looking like, even though we get daily updates on an app.
This past week, my aunt and uncle kindly hosted us all for afternoon tea at the Grand America to celebrate all the mothers in the family as well as in honor of my cousin Heather who is having a baby soon. It was delicious and so fancy!
I try to get out of the house daily with the little guys. It helps keep me sane. Sometimes it's a cop-out for nap time as well, since it means I can let them fall asleep in the car or stroller rather than having to put them down by myself.
On the Saturday before Easter, we went to my parents' house and celebrated with lunch, egg-dyeing, and an egg hunt. It's really hard to go on all-day outings with the boys, but seeing family is worth it!
And finally, some miscellaneous pictures from the past few weeks.
Just stalking the boys while they sleep...