Sunday, November 30, 2008

Breastfeeding - The Penultimate Chapter

I am proud that I made it to my three month goal of mostly breastmilk and mentally geared myself up for another goal of reaching four months.  But life has a way of slapping you around when you get cocky.  I'm sure my readers are bored silly of the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding twins - especially when it seems like moms out there can do it without all the whining I do.  But as I named this post it should be the penultimate installment - with the final chapter being no more breastfeeding.  

To recap - so far I've thrown out 250 ounces (please say a little prayer for the hours of work that went into that) of frozen breastmilk that smell and taste funny.  That is the equivalent of 41 bottles of 6 ounces (which is really only 6 days worth of bottles for 2 kids which is depressing in and of itself).  My kids had been only getting formula for their 7 pm and middle of the night bottles.  Recently I've added formula in their supplements so the kid who is breastfeed gets that after feeding.  I also BF on demand in the middle of the night after Husband sneaks them a few formula ounces at 11 pm.  But that means I pump once a day - not enough to keep the non-BF twin bottles filled up.  

Add to the mix the sleep.  I mean, the lack thereof.  For kids who only woke up once while Baby Nurse was here at 6 weeks I find myself up with Ned - at 2 am, at 2:30, at 3 and 15 increments thereafter until I feed him.  And him again at 5 am which means when he wakes at 7 am he isn't hungry.  Penny wakes once - around 4 am.  She eats fine in the morning.  I struggle trying to BF them both in the AM but I'm about to give up on that and those bottles will have to be formula.  Today I could NOT get out of bed.  I just didn't care and it was Sunday and so I had someone else who could do it (even though he is tired too).  I told Husband to give them formula and when I pumped around 8:30 am it was like nothing would come out.  He gave them precious refrigerator breastmilk but I'm just too tired to care.  I'm jealous of my commentators and friends who do the 11 pm "dream feed" (aka "sneak attack") so their kids will sleep until 7 am.  I do it so Ned isn't up at 1 am.  And this is the kid who weighs almost 13 lbs by now.  Sigh. 

Of course Ned wanted to go to sleep by 8 am again and nap for only 30 mins.  Penny was much more reasonable with her 9 am nap start time.  I cannot get Ned to sleep or nap well.  My dream schedule is Penny's - eat at 7/7:30 am, nap at 9, wake at 10:30ish, eat at 11 am, nap by 12:30/1 pm, up before 3 pm, eat at 3 pm, nap around 5 pm for an hour, bed at 7 pm.  Ideally they'd sleep until 7 am (or Husband can keep doing his sneak attacks so long as I get to sleep).  Ha, ha.  

Husband thought Ned was ready for a sleep sack - Penny has been using hers for a few weeks. Last night proves he is not.  I want him swaddled as tightly as possible.  One funny side note - Penny has been scratching her face even though we clip her nails regularly.  I think it is from rubbing her face when she wakes up in the middle of the night.  So we are putting the little sleeve flaps that come on every nightgown/pajamas.  It seems cruel to deny her the fingers/hands she just discovered!  We've also separated the two for daytime naps since Ned would wake Penny up with his crying.  She is downstairs in the pack n play and he is up in the crib.  She does okay at night with his crying.  



The short and the long of it is that I think each kid will get at least one BF per day and if I'm lucky one bottle of breastmilk but that formula is about to become the largest part of their diet.  I really wish I could have done it longer but with the stress of lack of sleep I just can't handle the stress of breastfeeding too.  Plus the kids haven't been eating as much as they used to which worries me and is easier to monitor when they are on the bottles.  [That might also explain why they are getting up more often during the night.]  The one thing I'll keep doing is BF in the middle of the night when they wake up hungry - so much easier than bottles.  I'm trying to shake the guilt and be proud of my three months but I really wanted to show Angelina Jolie up by going longer than she did.  It's also funny how most moms (who are back at work around 3 months) keep doing the morning and evening nursing and those are the two I won't be doing.  Husband and I discussed whether we could "fit in" another feeding but there is no natural way to do it (hence the 11 pm sneak attack).  My kids are generally fine on 4 hours and if they are hungry a little earlier we feed them a little earlier (but it is never more than 15 or 30 mins before).  I did try the 3 hour schedule for 2 days (anything to get them to sleep through the night) but I was a wreck trying to do it so often when they wouldn't eat and it was taking an hour still to feed them.  

Sleep is such a huge issue for me because I want the kids napping and sleeping well at night before I go back to work - and I only have a couple of months left.  Every day that ticks by I know is one closer to not being home with them and I want to enjoy fun time with them and not be an exhausted cranky mom who always feels like she is tending to one child or another that isn't eating well or sleeping well.  I want to be able to say to the Nanny: "Here is their feeding and sleep schedule" - and have it be as consistent as possible.  

Since this is another long, boring post I promise not to write about sleep for a few weeks.  I also want to say that I agree that small kids = small problems.  I may feel like the breasfeeding and sleep are huge but that is because I'm living it minute to minute and in no time at all this will be past.  It is just hard to intellectualize at 3 am.  

I have items to report realting to Big Law that deserve a post or two.  And of course I'll be posting lots of cute pictures!  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Twin Time Discounts - Husband in Charge

Thanksgiving was nice and quiet at my parents' house.  My mom made a great turkey and butternut squash and apple pie.  Husband made stuffing and mash potatoes.  Usually we go to Ohio but tickets were ridiculously expensive and we are not up for travelling with the kids yet.  I managed to scarf down dinner and 2 pieces of pie while the kids slept and we got home in time for their normal bedtime.  They also saw their first fire (gas).  



On Black Friday Husband was in charge of the kids after their 11 am feeding.  I went shopping - hitting only a few select stores.  The plan was for me to get home by bedtime since I was supposed to meet a work friend (who lives in New York) for drinks.  Unfortunately she had to do an emergency SEC filing so we are going to meet for lunch on Saturday.  I have had to work every Thanksgiving at the Firm (ask my in-laws) except this one.  You'd think I could get more "holiday" stuff done but I'm much busier and sleep deprived than even when I was on active bid/deals at Thanksgiving.  

Kohl's by far had the best deals and I got some toys for the kids and items for Husband.  Since we are not getting each other gifts (although we need new cell phones) I will let Husband unwrap all the kid gifts.  Given how many clothes they have in the 3-6 month range I am boycotting kid clothing.  Of course Babies R Us had zero deals. 

Because I was home early (by their 3 pm feeding) that meant Husband didn't get the trial by fire I was hoping for.  Penny napped for 3 hours in the afternoon for him but he used the swing a lot to get the kids to keep sleeping.  It is frustrating that although we both read the Healthy Sleep Habits book I am the one that constantly has to remind him of the rules (no swings - put in crib).  I keep telling him that I don't know any more than him so he needs to be as engaged as I am.  Husband also doesn't do chores when he is watching the kids - emptying the dishwasher, loading bottles, laundry.  It kind of sucks that he can just have fun with the kids while that waits for me - not fair.  Or he does other things like research deals on convertible car seats.  Important but sometimes I just want to come home to see the laundry folder and dishes done. 

Ned had not had a poop since Monday so I was getting nervous and going to call the pediatrician on Monday.  It "resolved" itself on Husband's watch.  He took photos that he really wants me to put up (he got the camera ready anticipating that it was coming soon).  I will spare you all.    

Husband is also way into Wii Fit that he got for me but I never have time for (see chores point above).  Penny enjoys watching Daddy do balancing games. 



Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness

I am thankful for many things this year: 
  • My supportive family and friends who have been so helpful since the birth of our kids. 
  • My wonderful Husband who pitches in day and night. 
  • My job - and the 6 months of maternity leave I was able to take. 
  • Our health. 
  • Our tykes.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tummy Time Techniques

I would not say that either of my kids likes tummy time.  But we are working on ways to make it more fun (and less screaming). 

One favorite is of course lying on Mommy or Husband's chest.  Another favorite is when we hold a child up on the couch to look over the window.  That counts, right? 



Ned has discovered that little friends nearby make tummy time a little less stressful. 




And sometimes looking at another baby helps - even if it is your sibling!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Months

Ned and Penny are three months old today!  In many respects it has been a really long three months but it also feels like I just brought them home from the hospital yesterday.  Here are our monthly chair photos. Penny was starting to need her nap by then so she is a little out of it.  Ned fits into the 3-6 month clothes but they are large on Penny as you can see in the photos.  






A week ago Ned started punching the animals and objects that hang down on the playmats and yesterday he actually grabbed for (and caught) items!  Penny kept her arms at her side but that is because her brother is so loud and demanding of attention.  When he went down for a nap before she did today Penny snuck in time playing on her own - and also reached for items!

He was too quick for photos but here is one of her. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dream Feeds

The kids pass out cold before they finish their bottles at bedtime.  It doesn't matter if we start them at 7 pm (their "bedtime"), 6:30 pm or 6 pm. It doesn't matter if they just woke up from their afternoon nap.  4 ounces each and that's it.  Except then Ned is up by midnight since he can't seem to last more than 6 hours.  Husband and I have taken to listening for noises over the monitor and then running up if they stir to get them to take another ounce or two.  I'm a little worried that they will get used to these unexpected mini-meals even though they are asleep (but we do pick them up).  What do my readers think? 

I also am working on my post about Weissbluth's book.  I do agree with his hypothesis that "sleep" is more a brain function than one of amount ate during the day or weight. Penny sleep so much longer than Ned and she eats so little and weighs less than 10.5 lbs.  Ned is over 12 lbs and gets all the ounces that are recommended for sleeping through the night.  

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aunt We Lucky?

While the tykes have been dragging Mommy, Esq. and Husband through the wringer the last couple of weeks all is forgiven when you see the adorable photos I took this week. Aunt Rachel came for a visit - much discussion about "Ant" and "Aunt" pronunciations but she'll have to live with "Aunt" since there is a "u" in there and we do live in New England.




A rarely seen Mommy, Esq. photo.



Not sleep or eat? Us? Does the wild hair give it away?



Relaxed after a Mommy, Esq. massage.



Princess Penny asks "Will you please stop letting Daddy give me a Mohawk? It isn't fitting for a pretty-princess like me."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Letter to Penelope

Dear Penelope,

Thank you for sleeping last night from 7:30 pm to 5 am. You are an inspiration to slightly older brothers, ahem, babies, everywhere. Now, can you please eat more than 15 ounces a day? I want you to be healthy and seeing you eat so little makes me sad and makes you grumpy.

Love, Mommy

P.S. I will try to stop your dad from styling your hair in a Mohawk after your bath tonight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Celebrity News

I think four people sent me the news that Angelina Jolie couldn't breastfeed past 3 months. I hear you, Angelina. This is the time when I'm so tired that I can't pump in the middle of the night and my hungry little kids are taking longer at the breast. Plus it is no longer a stubborn and "new" thing. I agree with Angela that tandem feeding is very stressful so I do one at a time at the early morning feeding and don't try to feed them both at the breast the other 2 daytime feeds. I wonder if she's totally on formula or has made similar compromises. She does have a photo in W Magazine showing her breastfeeding. Since Angelina has FOUR other kids I can understand not having the time to breastfeed even with staff.

I admit that when I ran into the newborn twin mom at the doctor's office I asked her if she was breastfeeding. Bad me! She actually said she was and I told her I was impressed. Angelina did not come up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Neverending November

Quick post to let you all know I'll be back with photos over the weekend. "No Sleep November" as I've dubbed this month continues so I'm too tired to post anything coherent. We did sneak the kids on the scale today when they got their second set of shots (I broke up the 2 month shots). Looks like Ned is now 12 lbs! That is 1.5 lbs in less than two weeks. Wow. Penny is only at a little over 10 lbs - not even a pound increase. I think her afternoon and bedtime feeding strikes aren't helping but since she's gaining weight I can't complain. There was a set of identical boys in the waiting room just 6 days old. It really showed me how far my little ones have come in terms of size and personality. I'm also napping when they do in the morning which should help.

Kudos to Donna who has to deal with no sleep and working! I know things will get better - I wrote the last post while I was too tired.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Expectations

As I mentioned yesterday I probably have unrealistic expectations about how my kids should be sleeping and napping at 12 weeks. As this Slate article points out having expectations that are too high will result in stress to me. So true. The author also points out that if you are stating that:

If you find yourself saying, "No matter how hard I try and try, I can't make my kid do X ..." or "No matter how hard I try, I can't make my kid understand Y ..." it's usually a clear sign that expectation and enforcing that expectation are a significant part of the problem.

I'm going to try to keep that in mind and be less hard on myself and on them. Of course that is difficult to do at 2 am. I like the "work up to" advice. For now I'd like to have Ned work up to 3 am so if we can get him to go an extra 10 mins a night that would be a good start. And maybe we can do the same for Penny and her daytime naps.

Also, in case you were wondering, so far I have dumped 140 ounces of breastmilk down the drain that smell/taste funny. I'm still checking the later half of October and beginning of November. I can't keep up with the pumping since I've had to dump so much and our days are so busy with these wide-awake and fussy babies. This means all their post-BF supplements (up to 3 ounces per BF) are now formula. If I'm lucky I can keep up their non-BF bottles as being expressed breastmilk for another week or two (plus the 2 formula feeds). I'm sad that so much of their intake is becoming formula but I'm proud I've made it this far. I'm hopeful that each kid will get about 10-20 ounces of breastmilk per day as long as I can. We also didn't keep up the every 3 hours feeding schedule (too stressful on me and Penny) and we are back to 3.5-4 hours between feedings. I'm sure some moms would be jealous of that length of time but I get up a few times a night so it all balances out!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gracious Guests and Sick Spouse

My friend Lori was in town this weekend. She cooked for us! And sang to Ned! In fact, she was such a great guest that she even washed her own sheets from the bed. Future guests at the Esq's take note. :)



Lori is also an avid fitness enthusiast and she showed me some stroller exercises. We tried out the Bob stroller I bought to fit in with other MOTs like Goddess - just kidding, but it is INCREDIBLE. I hopped the stroller right up over the curbs and hardly noticed how crappy the sidewalks are around here. I'm never taking the Double Snap N Go on another walk again.

Husband's flu last weekend morphed into a cold and now bronchitis. I really hope that our kids get my constitution - maybe this breastfeeding will help. I did take Ned's temperature rectally for the first time. Ugh - a part of parenting I had been hoping to avoid. Husband went to the walk in clinic at Lahey Clinic on Sunday morning. He mentioned he had newborn twins and they recommended he not cough on them, wash his hands and wear a mask when feeding them. Penny was not frightened by Daddy's new look at all.


Unfortunately until Husband is better I'm on tap with our kids and their sleep issues. My mom, a survivor of raising triplets, told me that soon this will be a distant memory. I sure hope so! Husband says I have unrealistic expectations for my kids. I prefer to think of it as a goal for them to shoot for. Too bad they don't seem to understand when I explain how I want things to go when I'm putting them to bed!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Finish

Thank goodness the weekend is almost here and Husband is glad to be able to help out 100%. My friend Jersey Girl (aka Lori) is also coming for the weekend. Husband is putting the kids to bed tonight so Lori and I can go to dinner in Boston (since I'm picking her up at South Station). Last night I put the kids to bed at 5:30 so Ned ate around 12:00 and I BF Penny at 1:30. Scary how Ned has decreased his sleeping from 8 hours to less than 6 now. I liked the BF so I'm going to keep it up for Penny since she doesn't eat much at night. Then I BF Ned at 4 am and Penny at 5 am to keep them happy until Ned woke up at 6:45 and I woke Penny at 7:15. I liked the middle of the night BF - it is easier to get back to sleep.

We are going to try a new day schedule/routine - feeding during the day every 3 hours. All the kids I know that sleep through the night eat at least every three hours during the day. More stress on me but totally worth it if we can get them to sleep through the night. Thanks for everyone's comments about this being a phase. I sure hope so!

Here is a picture from last weekend. My favorite alone time with each kid - a walk in the Moby wrap with my cell phone/jawbone in place to talk to friends/family while he or she sleeps. Those are photos I picked up at Walgreens tucked into the Moby wrap. It is Ned you can barely see.



Last night Husband and I did a taste test of some of my frozen milk. He was totally grossed out but I needed a second opinion. The very recently frozen stuff (early November) was fine but all of September is bad. You can definitely smell it when it is bad. Some of the "good" milk also had "curdles" so not sure that is really a sign. So far I've thrown out 50 ounces and I'm testing October (3 different dates). I actually think if I have to dump October it would be closer to 200 ounces. I didn't realize how full my freezer had gotten. I read about scalding your milk if you have extra lipase (not sure if you can test for that) but that also strips the nutrients so I'd rather just go to formula. I'm doing formula for BF supplements and breastmilk for bottles - still BF one kid per feeding. Of course with the 3 hour schedule I can't pump at all during the day (no time). Husband thinks this is a sign but I'm going to keep working on it a couple of more weeks - and get us to 3 months.

In good news - our Nanny April accepted the job! That's great - especially because she is not starting until middle of February (I go back to work March 2). I'm going to have her come 2 half days per week until she starts full time. She came yesterday and I was much calmer after leaving the house sans kiddies for a few hours. I feel a little guilty that all my friends with new babies don't seem to feel the need to leave them with other people. But if it makes me more patient and happier to be around my kids I'm all for it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crying Over Spilt Milk

I have been using my stash of frozen milk as their post-breastfeeding supplements since neither kid will breastfeed well. the thawed milk always seemed to smell a little off and had curdles in it (like when you pour bad milk into coffee). Penny refuses her supplements pretty consistently but Ned would eat them. Finally I tried some myself and decided I think my milk is sour. Some women can't freeze their milk and I may very well be one of them. I'm thawing some recently frozen milk to see if it is all bad but I suspect it is. That means I will be throwing away over 100 ounces of breastmilk. My sister Allison had the same issue with her milk.

Since you can keep breastmilk in the fridge for up to 8 days I can still get enough together to feed them every day and when I can't we will increase their formula from two bottles to include the supplements. Of course I'm so tired I'm not pumping as much. Such a vicious cycle.

To say I'm upset about the amount of time and effort I went into putting together a freezer stash is putting it lightly. Combine the kids inability to nap or sleep well at night and I'm pretty much an exhausted wreck. Last night I went to bed at 8 pm after the kids went to seep but since Ned was up at 1 am I'm still not caught up. Nanny is coming later today so I'm going to escape - but to Babies R Us and Target for kid stuff. Honestly it isn't the breastmilk that has me down but the fact these kids won't sleep or eat well and I can't seem to come up with a plan to guide them in that direction.

Okay both kids screaming - neither willing to nap. It might be a few more days until I can most some cute baby pics.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kiddy Songs

To help with tummy time I was trying to remember favorite childhood songs to sing to the kids. I know "Itsy Bitsy Spider" but not much else has stuck. Sometimes I know just one verse of a song. Case in point was "Baby Bumblebee" - I only knew the "Bringing Home" part of the song. Thank goodness for the interwebs! Here are the rest of the lyrics.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hanging On

The kids are totally kicking my ass right now. This whole "getting up in the middle of the night" is taking its toll on me and my sanity. Not just feeding them which is okay - it's the other random "I need soothing" moments that rob you of your sleep and do the most damage. Both kids are having bedtime bottle strikes and not eating well at all - resulting in a vicious cycle of multiple evening wake-ups and super early breakfasts. Today they are completely off routine/schedule and given my level of exhaustion I'm a mess as is my house. I'm going to chalk this up as an off-day and just try to survive (no schedule, breastfeeding (which I'm having issues with again) and sleep efforts). Tomorrow is another day and I hope that one will put us back on track. Husband is also bringing me lunch - a perk of having him work so close to home.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Nanny Diaries Continued

Last night the woman I had interviewed earlier in the week (found on SitterCity.com) came over so Husband could meet her. We all put the kids to bed together and then Husband and I went to dinner (at Catch - a nice restaurant in Winchester that just started having Sunday hours). This gave Husband a chance to interact with her and see her with the kids.

Before she came over we came up with our proposal (assuming Husband would like her). We researched to confirm that we have to pay overtime for any non-holiday/sick time over 40 hours a week. I was impressed how easy it was to find that information. Husband calculated the rate assuming 48 hour work week, the tax rate we'd owe since she wants to be paid and taxed which we want too. There was an interesting article recently on The Wall Street Journal about the nanny tax. We are offering 2 weeks vacation and 8 paid holidays. The cost is astronomical but since most of our children's waking hours are with this woman it is worth it. And scarily enough it is a fraction of what Baby Nurse charged.

Husband liked Nanny and so after dinner we offered her the job and gave her a summary of our proposed terms. She already told me that we were her favorite family that she's interviewed at so far (she's been on about half a dozen interviews). Husband liked that she is motivated to improve her education, is taken with the kids, likes to sing and talk to them and is very focused on them. Nanny also is eager for the 1 year commitment which puts my mind at ease. It was actually much easier to find someone than I thought it would be - but I think we were really lucky with my finding a profile of a candidate I liked and her matching that impression. I did try to interview someone else on Sunday but she never showed up.

I'm still saddened by the fact that we chose to have children knowing that the bulk of the time we'd see them is on the weekend. The Wall Street Journal Juggle posters often vilify parents for doing so. I know that Nanny will let me be as involved as I can be (when I'm doing my "deal-off/work from home" time) and will give me detailed downloads about the kids. With a 6:30 pm/7:00 pm bedtime though I'm hardly going to see them during the week when I'm on an active deal except the morning for an hour or so.

I'm partway through Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth and I'll provide a detailed review when I'm done but my parenting instincts definitely match his advice which is reassuring.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

O-H-I-O

Despite the flu Husband rallied for Ohio State on Saturday - as they soundly whipped Northwestern (or as Husband says, inappropriately ran it up). Penny actually stared at the TV. I heard football is attractive to infants because of the bright colors. There is always a lot of red in the stands during an Ohio State game - even an away one.



Husband was teaching Penny how to spell Ohio.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Illness of the Season

On Friday I went for my flu shot - first time ever. I hear I can pass on the benefits through breastfeeding to my kids. Of course Thursday night Husband came how complaining he "caught something" on the plane during his Wednesday business trip. Based on the heat radiating from his body and the chills he had on Thursday night it is the flu. I made him stay home on Friday so as not to infect his co-workers. Ironically he watched the kids while I got my flu shot - which isn't effective for about 2 weeks. I suppose I shouldn't let him take care of the kids but I'd go crazy without some help - and of course he gets sick right before the weekend when he's around to help more. Men! I also figured that if I got sick I'd still have to take care of the kids so I'm not passing out an exemption.

Ned has been doing more with his hands - apparently a developmental achievement. He is grasping them in this photo and today he was sucking his thumb on two separate occasions (and we are very liberal with our pacifier use). It was cute to see his teeny-tiny thumb in his mouth - it barely fit over his lip.



Ned and Penny are getting to know each other a little better as brother and sister. A far cry from the other day when Husband made them wrestle on the playmat.




Here they are in one of my favorite outfits given by their Auntie Allie.



Our pediatrician gives me a sheet at each visit for development, feeding and guidance. According to the sheet I got this week by 3 to 4 months Ned and Penny should start to smile and hold objects briefly. They also will start to suck hands and drool - CHECK! - coo and laugh (just Ned coos a little) and pick up their heads - CHECK! Good guidance includes not leaving your kid on the changing table. Come on - we've all been tempted but I resist by placing them in pack-n-play or crib if I need to run and get something.

Friday, November 7, 2008

MoT Playdate

Yesterday we went on our first Moms of Twins playdate - hosted by Goddess. Rachel came with her two girls that are 15 or 16 weeks (but were 7 weeks early). Goddess's two kids are 15 months and they were napping for most of the time. We came between feedings and my kids slept most of them time after playing for a bit. With just 3 sets of twins can you imagine how crazy my maternity center class is with 8 sets!

Goddess serves as advice-giver for which I am grateful. I also scored some extra large swaddle blankets that originated from another mom of twins. Problem areas for my kids right now are sleep. I'm trying to get them to take their naps in their cribs but it is a battle and I usually give in and put them in the swings just to get a chance to shower and rest for a few minutes.



Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nanny Diaries

I found a candidate on SitterCity.com and she came over yesterday. She has 10 years of daycare/babysitting experience - both infant and toddler. She is very energetic and clearly loves kids. She is finishing her associates degree and will be going weekends to get her bachelor. Overall I felt comfortable with her - she fed Ned while I BFed Penny and she played with them and put them down for their naps while I went out and ran errands for an hour or so. The only slight drawback is that it is hard to get a word in edgewise! But she seemed to know what I'd be asking and her anecdotes/conversation addressed most of my questions. The key is she wants to do what Husband and I want. She also thinks I'm a calm mom! I have so many people fooled...

I was thinking to myself while I ran errands that I like knowing every detail about their day because I'm involved in it. How many dirty diapers, amount of spit up, smiles while playing, length of nap, etc. It will be hard to not be there and on most nights not even be home to put them to bed (but I'll do the morning shift). I think this candidate would be receptive to my calling every afternoon for a full download. No way Husband would remember even if she told him.

In case you were wondering nannies cost between $15-20 an hour. Her rate is $17 and we'd give her 2 weeks paid vacation and paid holidays. Fortunately Husband and I both have "back-up" daycare for such time and for any sick days she has. I may interview someone else just to be sure but I think I like her.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Proud of America

When I fed the kids in the middle of the night on Tuesday night and pumped afterward I couldn't resist turning on CNN to check the election results.  While my politics are rather fiscally conservative (taxes are my biggest issue) I have to say that I am proud that American citizens showed they will vote for a qualified candidate without regard to his race or name origin.  I also thought it was interesting that when Condoleezza Rice congratulated President-Elect Obama she called him and herself "African-American".  While it is true for him (since his dad was Kenyan) most of my black friends prefer to be called "black" - some because they are from the Caribbean, others because they are not "African-American" - just "American". 

The media has christened this the new "Camelot".  I hope if not much gets done in the first 100 days people aren't too disillusioned as they were when Kennedy was elected.  As the parliamentary system can attest - just because you have the majority and leadership position doesn't mean that your policies will be enacted.  Filibustering and other checks and balances are there for our protection.  Husband and I were discussing how the biggest impact Obama will make is to appoint a number of vacancies on appeals courts and likely one or two Supreme Court justices will retire.  That is influence that will carry on far beyond his presidency.  

In case you were wondering how our two month doctor's visit went: 

Ned is now the older and bigger brother. He weighed in at 10 lbs, 6 oz, is 22.5 inches long and his head is 15 inches circumference. Penny was 9 lbs, 5 oz, 22 inches and 14.5 inches respectively.

Because Penny has proven her courage with ear test and tongue clipping I had Ned get his shots first knowing full well that it probable meant Penny would take it worse. Which is what happened but both kids did pretty well and weren't crying by the time we got into the car. Special thanks to Helen who helped out since Husband couldn't leave his new job.

They are going to give them a combo shot and the rotavirus oral vaccine. I've heard mixed things on it and my pediatrician does not require it if I don't want to.  Thoughts? 

Voting - To Return to Work

Well, it was a fluke. Or maybe Ned was trying to get in one extra feeding overnight so he'd weigh more this afternoon when I take him to the pediatrician. Husband said it was easy to put them down on Monday night - Ned fell asleep after only 3 ounces so he was up at 1:30 am, Penny at 4 am, Ned at 6 am, both at 8 am.... Mommy, Esq. is tired.

I walked with the kids to vote - it is a beautiful fall day. It was too busy at the polls (but no wait) for me to ask someone to take our photo. Lots of the nice older women and high school kids who manned the polls oohed and awed over how cute they are. Interesting that the only elections where I had options were the Presidential race and ballot initiatives. All other "local" posts were unopposed.

Last night I went to a cocktail party for the Finance Department at the Firm. Just some basic hors d'oeuvres and wine. I brought photos of the kids and for the first time was able to trade small talk about children. The event was to honor two senior associates who just made partner and to welcome some new associates visiting from one of our foreign offices. It is a little frightening that there is only one other associate more senior than I am in the department. Since some other associates I thought would make partner in the private equity group didn't it is good that they have confidence in our department and are trying to retain talent.

One nice thing about attending is that I made it clear I was actively pursuing nannies and that I was definitely returning after my six month leave. For obvious lifestyle reasons many women choose to find other career paths after having kids. I like to keep myself visible so they don't forget I'm coming back. Since the finance market is shaky (to say the least) I'm out at a relatively good time. Lots of novel contract interpretations to avoid consents/amendments (since I represent primarily borrowers) but no real "deals" happening at the moment.

I do see the conflict between wanting to have kids and raising them with the morals and values my husband and I hold and having most of their daily exposure to someone else's. Most of their waking hours during the week will be with a nanny. I want to pick someone who shares our parenting outlook but to be honest I'm not sure yet what that is - we are still in survival mode.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ten Weeks

I can't believe that my tykes are 10 weeks old today. I actually had a dream this morning that I gave birth to another set of twins in the car that were enormous - all plump to begin with. Clearly a dream though since I also had these guys at home at this age.

A special thank you to Nancy, Mike and the littler members of the Zimmer crew for having us over for a yummy dinner last night. Penny and Ned behaved themselves (more or less) and it was wonderful to see Nancy and Mike interact with their twins who are almost 4 years old. They are wonderful parents - very easy going and loving and I hope Husband and I do half as well.

Here are some close-ups of the kids I took this weekend. Penny had her Mohawk hairstyle going on. It seems to be the natural state of things. They also have started smiling more and not just because they are gassy. In honor of their ten-week status Penny slept until 3:30 am and Ned until 4 am - 7.5 hours and 8 hours respectively (bedtime started at 7 pm and they were asleep by 8 pm)! Keep your fingers crossed that this is not a fluke.






All my blogging friends are doing the National Blog Posting Month. I didn't sign up but I'm going to try to post every day in solidarity. Tonight Husband is putting the kids to bed on his own because I am going to a finance department cocktail get together at the Firm. Since Penny has been so fussy lately with taking the bottle I hope it goes well for him.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wonderful Moms

My friend Helen brought her mom, Helen Sr., to my house earlier in the week to meet the kids. Helen's mom is a wonderful caring woman and a great mom. As I thought about this post with the photos of her and Ned I realized that I consider the moms of all my closest girlfriends (special shout out to Theresa, Natalie and Gretchen's moms) to be wonderful caring women and great moms as well. I hope someday that Penny's friends feel the same way about me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Big Three

After my third week of a twin mom class and a bunch of playdates I have come to the conclusion that there are three main areas of conversation for moms of infants:

1. Breastfeeding/Feeding - the guilt, the agony. Typical questions include - how long between feedings, how long do they eat for (or how many ounces if bottle fed), do you supplement, [when] do you pump (and how much), what kind of bottles and nipples do you use, are you going crazy. As you may know I struggled quite a bit with breastfeeding and I'm glad I'm still doing some and I'm okay with the compromises I've made. I really don't have the personality to be feeding two kids every 2-3 hours on the breast and frankly my physical makeup makes it difficult - even if I were to have had one kid it would be a struggle for latching. The guilt that the women I meet feel who really want to breastfeed but are finding they can't make it work for a number of different reasons is incredible. I think those that are stay-at-home moms and/or struggled with infertility carry the biggest guilt. I hope if any of them stumble upon this site they will try to find peace with it as I have - even though it took me quite a while to get there.

2. Sleep - the exhaustion, oh, the exhaustion. I told myself that the crazy hours I work in Big Firm Law would prepare me for sleepless nights but that was only true for the first month. Now I feel a big sleep deficit which makes it hard to be loving and responsive at 2 am when a kid needs me. The "sleep when they sleep" advice doesn't work so well - as most moms will attest - because there is too much to do and it is hard to get both kids sleeping at once. The worst for me is the short time between middle of the night feeding and morning feeding. As for the kids typical questions include - when do they sleep, for how long, where, in what contraption (if necessary), do you swaddle them, what do they wear to bed. I'm glad we have a well established bedtime routine and they don't have to sleep all night in car seats or swings.

3. Gas - I knew as a parent there would be conversations around diaper contents and digestive issues. I just never know I'd care so deeply. This issue seems to effect moms of twins proportionately higher (based on my limited survey). Acid reflux is a big topic - along with type of formula, prescriptive meds, other supplements. Most books say babies have immature digestive systems and will for a year. I think there is no cure really for gas issues and I'm trying to not expect a "cure-all". I also have found that you shouldn't switch around too much - keep doing what you are trying for at least a week before expecting results. As a type A person I keep wanting fast results but there is no real constant for babies. Every day is a unique data point so comparisons are difficult.

I've more or less stuck to the routine/schedule Baby Nurse and I came up with - to be adjusted back an hour once daylight savings hits (since we'll keep them as-are):

Bedtime starts at 8 pm with formula feeds - I start there because that is the constant. Ned takes about 5.5-6 ounces of formula and Penny eats 4 ounces if we are lucky (down from 5 ounces). Both kids are usually asleep by 9 pm. Penny has been fussy and rejecting the bottle until she has a BM but we are working through that and she is getting better. We feed them their bedtime bottles in the darkened nursery (Husband sits on the floor) with a bedtime mix on the CD player.

Middle of the night wake-up is around 2:30-3:30 am. It was 4 am when Baby Nurse was here but Ned developed severe gas and was up around 2 am for a few weeks until we found a better formula. Penny is waking up earlier because she isn't eating as much during the day or at her bedtime bottle. I hope they will start to move back to 4 am again for my sanity. They both go back to sleep very easily after their middle of the night bottle. I feed them in the dark and try not to engage them at all. Technically they "sleep through the night" since it is 5 hour stretch that is considered sleeping through the night (9 pm to 2 am = 5 hours). Yeah, right - give me 8+ hours and then I'll consider them sleeping through the night so I get more than 4 hours of sleep at a stretch myself. I don't get back to bed until 5 am since I feed Ned, then Penny, then pump (my biggest session so I don't want to drop - 8 to 11 ounces) so I am completely exhausted when Ned is up at 7:30 am. I have visions of getting up earlier to shower before they are up but that is going to have to wait until they are sleeping longer.

Morning wake up is around 7:30 am for Ned - sometimes he wants to play/is bored, sometimes gas pains and sometimes hungry. Penny doesn't get up until 8:30 or 9 am. Since I don't really want to feed them again until 12:30 or 1 pm (based on when they go to bed counting in the other direction) I see if I can hold Ned off for a while. Either I feed him first around 8:30 am or tandem breastfeed both of them which I find difficult but survivable. Both then get about 2.5 ounces of breast milk in bottles - Ned polishes his off and Penny eats about 1.5 - 2 ounces. I'm still dependent completely on the nipple shield for breastfeeding. I try not using it but they are not as efficient and still don't latch well. I may be calling a lactation consultant this week for a home visit.

Penny usually falls asleep right after breakfast and Ned isn't far behind. If we have an activity to get to (class, playdate, and soon errands) I let them doze in swings until I'm ready to get them out of the house. I usually run around and do chores during this time and shower/dress. If we have activities Penny wakes up after we get where we are going (or on the way there) and joins in the fun - Ned sleeps until he wants to eat.

At 12:30 or 1 pm Ned gets a bottle with about 5.5-6 ounces of breastmilk and Penny is breastfed for about 30-40 mins and supplemented with 2.5 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle (eating about 1.5 - 2 ounces). If we go to our class I sometimes do both on a bottle so it is easier on me. In case you were wondering if I feed them at the same time I feed the bottle baby on a Boppi while I breastfeed the other. I'll have someone take a photo one of these days but usually if there is a someone that person is feeding the bottle baby for me.

Penny again falls asleep after eating (she's a good sleeper) and Ned is up for a while but I put him down within 2 hours of his getting up if I can. I try to get them to sleep in their cribs if I can. I want the afternoon nap to be sacred so I can nap or blog or do whatever. I have about a 50% success rate. Today was successful - that's why I'm blogging. When they nap in the crib they seem to take shorter naps which I'm trying to adjust to - since previously they just slept until their next feeding.

At 4:30 pm I feed Penny a bottle of breastmilk - about 5.0-5.5 ounces but she has only been eating 4 ounces lately (because of the rejecting the bottle problem). At 4:30 or 5 pm Ned gets breastfed plus polishes off his 2.5 breastmilk supplement bottle.

They are awake and/or dozing downstairs after that feeding until bed. We do some playtime and I let them drift in and out of sleep. It's only 3 hours between the 5 pm feeding and 8 pm bedtime (soon to be 4 pm and 7 pm respectively) but Penny does get pretty cranky before bed - I think she gets overtired but I'm not yet sure how to deal with that. Since they doze/play after that feeding I pump - usually get about 5-6 ounces. I also pump after they go to bed - around 10:00 pm and get anywhere from 5-8 ounces. I used to try to pump after each feeding but I had to drop the daytime ones - too much when kids are fussy or active - but I add in one more at least when Husband is home on the weekends.

Ned is on Carnation Good Start Supreme (partially broken down for easier digestion) with Dr. Brown's Bottles (per pediatrician recommendation) and Penny eats Similac Advanced or Neosure (going through old stock) with basic Gerber bottles and medium flow nipples (which are for 4 month kids but she was collapsing the other type of slower flow nipple). We had her on Dr. Brown's with Ned but when she started rejecting the bottle we switched back to what she was already used to. She is better about expelling her gas without making a big to-do about it. Plus since they are on different formulas (for now) it is easier to tell the bottles apart. I put "gripe water" in their bottles for the 4:30/5 pm feeding and both formula feeds. Not sure if it helps but since his gas is easing I'm keeping it up. We used to do Mylicon but I didn't notice much help.

My kids are swaddled tightly for each nap in their cribs. I want to start having one arm out during their afternoon sleep but haven't been very consistent about it. I also want to give them more play time (ahem, tummy time that they hate) and more Moby wrap/sling time but am just trying to fit in where I can right now so it doesn't happen every day.

I try to prepare all day bottles after the first morning breastfeeding and I prepare both formula bottles while Husband plays with the kids. I would love to "do away" with bottles but my kids need the supplement after breastfeeding and since we are already doing bottles the one on the breast/one on the bottle isn't hard and lets me spend time with one kid at each feeding. We use pre-made formula which my sister thinks is an extravagance. It is but I'm okay with that - we more than make up for the cost with all the meals we are no longer eating out in restaurants.

Husband helps for bedtime every night and I have him get up on Friday and Saturday nights and sometimes during the week if I am really exhausted. I'd like to hand off one weekend night to him but while I'm still pumping there is really no point. I like our bedtime feedings together - I catch up with him on what went on with the kids and what he's done at work that day.

As I mentioned above every day is different. What I describe above is "typical" but certainly not a daily event. I miss Baby Nurse - once we got on the same page it was a good relationship. I am saner for having a sort of "schedule" with the kids, I'm still partially breastfeeding and I'm getting out of the house as much as possible since I miss her company.