Friday, June 21, 2013

Naptime: Fun for...everyone?

So, not surprisingly, we have struggled with sleep since the beebs were born. To be more precise, we've obsessed over it. We've coveted it. For them and for ourselves. We've looked forward to what little sleep we might get out of a session, while simultaneously dreading the very thought of beginning the "process." I've pondered and researched the subject so thoroughly, facts and statistics seep out of my pores. Or...something like that. 

Anyway, I think it can be safely said that all new parents obsess to a point about sleep and whether their baby is getting enough (sadly, that obsession doesn't extend to themselves because, well, sleep? WHAT'S THAT?). And, as one might imagine, twins only slightly ups the ante. Getting one baby to sleep and doing everything you can to keep him or her that way can be a challenge like literally no other. Doing it with two is just a joke--and not a funny one either. 

The Barbarian and I are a bizarre mix of tastes, attributes, and beliefs, but we lean pretty "crunchy" when it comes to a lot of things, parenting included. Breastfeeding was a no-brainer for us, even though we were having twins and, tragically, the vast majority of people have been led to believe that exclusively breastfeeding twins is a completely unattainable goal. Well, I am here to set the record straight: That's a load of crap. 

Being that the beebs are breastfed, they almost always nurse to go to sleep. Why? Because it's easy, effective, and the way the system is designed. The Barbarian, though, having a ridiculously strong maternal instinct (have I mentioned he's half girl? Yep, half girl, half barbarian. Seriously, it's the best mix, ladies...just FYI, and all), has developed the "Daddy Method," an extremely effective way of putting them to sleep much of the time. We've, therefore, done a mix of the two for naps and nighttime since they were tiny, changing things up when whatever we were doing stopped working because, well, because IT ALWAYS STOPS WORKING AT SOME POINT. These beebs, man. They don't believe in a static existence. How...beebish of them. 

I won't go into the entire evolution of our sleep routine, but will make a confession as to what naps generally look like as of the past few months. They look exactly like the scene evident right this very minute: Me lying on my back with a beeb tucked in each armpit fast asleep, often latched and "slursing," as we've termed that nursing while sleeping thing they do. Before about a month ago, it was me sitting propped up and them lying on various pillows tucked around me in the nursing position known as the "football" hold, facing in on their sides, heads together, bodies extending back along my sides. The lying down is a vast improvement, let me tell you. It took us a while, though, because I was confused as to how my boobs were supposed to face those directions. I mean, they're certainly more saggy at this stage, but umm, hmmmm... Anyway. It was an awesome AHA! moment when we all figured it out. There are lots of those with twins. They seriously make you feel like a freaking superhero. "That's right, bitches! I got my boobies to point two different directions with the help of my tiny humans! Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!!" Or...something like that. 

So, my point with all of this (it's not always guaranteed, but there's usually a some point)? The beebs sleep on or right next to me their entire nap, except on the fairly rare occasion I can sneak away, and that's essentially just when one wakes up before the other and the two of us successfully make it out because the other is still so comatose. Sometimes they do nap in the car, but for the most part this is our setup--hence all the free time to dick around online and, now, blog for your enjoyment (don't worry--I use that term loosely). 

Can I just hear the whispers of admonition from many about our nap setup? Why, yes. Yes, I can. And do I care? Why, no. No, I do not. I'm leaving the explanation and reasoning and science in support for the next post, but suffice it to say that while I don't always love the setup (the things I could get done while they sleep!), the beebs do, in fact, sleep this way. And, ladies and gentlemen... I'LL TAKE IT. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

They're everywhere

The babies. They really are. EVERYWHERE.

10 months in and I still have absolutely zero clue how to respond to the inevitable, "I don't know how you do it." From friends, family, strangers. Well-meaning, all, for sure. And really meant to be a compliment (I think). But, still. What do I say to that?

"Me neither" is the obvious and, truly, most realistic answer. Because, seriously, the fact that we are all in one piece and somewhat clean and fed and living even close to a normal existence right now is a testament to the fact that miracles do happen. Okay, that's superbly dramatic, but not far from how it feels some days. I literally just asked The Barbarian today to confirm how it is that he really does feel comfortable leaving me alone with his children most days. Probably not the question one wants to receive from his or her fantastically sleep-deprived wife, but we like to keep things honest and real around these parts. For the record, he said he had the utmost faith in me. Or something like that. I think. I'm, in all honesty, too exhausted to remember.

As a longtime nanny, I have years and years of experience caring for more than one child at a time (not while hormonally imbalanced and lacking a true full night's sleep in well over a year, of course, but it's not like this is my first rodeo when it comes to wrangling wee folk). But two babies of the same age and developmental stage is, well, a whole universe unto itself. Parents of twins (I can't even begin to fathom what it's like for parents of higher order multiples...) like to say that caring for two babies at once is in no way equal to the sum of its parts--it's not double the work, it's at least triple, if not more. They say this BECAUSE IT'S TRUE. I'm really not quite sure on the mechanism behind this reality as yet, but I can verify that it is, indeed, the case.

I am constantly hearing from other mamas that they could barely hack it with one, and don't know what they would have done (or would do) with two. And all the while, I'm thinking, HAH! Give me ONE baby for a DAY and I will conquer the WORLD! Okay, not really. Not even close, actually. But if I said I didn't find myself thinking on occasion how much easier my day would be or how much I could be getting done if I ONLY had ONE baby, I would be a BIG, FAT LIAR WHO LIES. Because some (most?) days, I get a huge wad of NOTHING done. Except take fairly good care of my babies, of course. From what I've heard, they are extremely happy, engaged, present, content...and really, I would have to agree. They are, in a word, AWESOME. No bias here, of course.

But, DUDE. Stress. And serious feelings of inadequacy. And stress. Did I mention that one? Because, truly, those are my days. Amid all the giggles and smiles and cuddles and hilarious shenanigans and delight at new discoveries and simple pleasures and all that, of course. It really IS the most phenomenally astounding dichotomy of experiences, parenthood. The most amazingly rewarding experience of your life is, at once, the most overwhelmingly anxiety-, depression-, and stress-inducing event imaginable. I mean, seriously. I can't make this shit up. It's BANANAS.

However, more and more recently, as the beebs (as we call them) get older (which is, in and of itself, a most bizarre experience), I've been faced with the fact that I would like to have something else to occupy those few hours a day I (usually) have to "dick around online" (am I the only one who uses that phrase...?). I won't get into why I have so much dicking around time at this...time (we'll save the judging for later), but will say that I have considered blogging "again" (my "blogging" in the past has been erratic, to say the least) as something that might fill my time. A recent question from a friend as to the status of a former blog solidified my intent to make it so, Number One.

So here we are. A mama, a toad, a goblin, and a barbarian. And some furry creatures as well. Blathering on about whatever suits my fancy, really.

Welcome. And won't you stay awhile? Or come again? Or make yourself useful?

I'm sure we could use all three.