Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
- 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.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
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
Thursday, November 20, 2008
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
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
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
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
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
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
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
Husband was teaching Penny how to spell Ohio.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
Saturday, November 1, 2008
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.