Sleep Training Twins, sort of

A few weeks ago, Mom and I made the decision to move the babies up to their room.  It’s time to experiment with sleep training twins.

You know the room I speak of.  It’s that special place that we planned and arranged just for them, where they haven’t even spent more than five minutes.

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ready and waiting

It’s been our favorite topic to argue about for the past few weeks.  Each argument usually begins with me saying something dumb like, “Well, I read online that we should…”, which instantly sets her off.  But Mom finally agreed to give it a shot.  Whenever my wife suddenly gives in and lets me have my way, an alarm goes off in my head.  The alarm signals a simple trap, which is usually followed by failure in whatever I had been suggesting and arguing about.  But I had to go for it.

The main reason it has taken so long for us to move the babies up to the nursery and let them sleep in their cribs, is the fact that they’re still waking up every three hours to eat.  I’ve been pushing for the cry-it-out method, which might be the cruelest endeavor I have ever suggested.  I’d be pretty pissed if anyone made me cry out anything.

But my logic tells me that they’ll exhaust themselves by shouting and crying, fall asleep, cry and scream again when they’re hungry, fall asleep, and then when we’re all good and rested, they’ll wake up hungry and eat breakfast.  My logic is not based on any professional experience of sleep training twins and Mom reminds me of this whenever I bring it up.

So we gave it a shot.

  • Friday: We brought the babies up to the dark nursery and realized that we didn’t have the noise machine.  How could they sleep in a new environment without the familiar sound of the ocean playing in the background?  Let’s try again tomorrow.
  • Saturday: We brought the babies up to the dark nursery, turned on the sound machine, and put the babies in their cribs.  Scout’s leg immediately shot through the crib’s bars.  Crap.  Bumpers.  We still haven’t put them on the cribs.  Let’s try again tomorrow.  No, tomorrow is a school night.  Let’s try again next weekend.

The babies began wearing their helmets, which they will wear for 23 hours per day.  What if they don’t sleep well because of the helmets?  We should let them get used to wearing helmets while they sleep and try again next weekend, right?  Right.  So we get a free pass for this weekend.

But you see, that next weekend, the babies weren’t acting like themselves because of teething (which we blame for everything).  Another free pass this weekend?  You know it.

At their six month appointment the following week, the doctor told us that we should do a tapered cry-it-out method in order to eliminate one of their night feedings.  We decided to cut out the feeding that took place around midnight.  So when they cry around midnight, we should let them cry for ten minutes, then feed.  The next night, we should give them 20 minutes, gradually increasing the time until they just sleep through that feeding.

It felt good to have a doctor-approved plan, but our questions for the doctor only came to mind when we left her office.

What happens when they wake up at 1am?  Do we feed them?

We have two babies, which means two schedules.  Do we use the cry-it-out method for both and their separate schedules?  Because in the past, we’ve fed both babies once one baby begins crying to be fed.

But we’ve started.

Despite teething, a recent bout of colds, and an ear infection, our boogie-faced babies are doing just fine.

I usually wake up (I think I do) when Griffin begins crying for his midnight feeding. I tell Mom that I’m setting my phone’s timer for 20 minutes so we know when to feed him.  Then she tells me that he’s been crying for ten minutes already.  She’ll wake me up again 30 seconds later (ten minutes later) and we feed both babies.

We’re currently sleeping in the middle of the nursery, on two twin mattresses pushed together, just a few feet away from both cribs.  Not the ideal situation, but we’ve got to start somewhere.  The next phase, which we haven’t yelled at each other about yet, is when Mom and I will move across the hall to the other bedroom.

No one in our house is sleeping more for than four consecutive hours, other than the dogs, of course, but I think we’re on the right track.  If we’re able to sleep for six straight hours by the middle of April, then I will consider myself a sleep-training master, and I will give advice to every red-eyed, frustrated, sleep-deprived sucker out there, whether they’ve asked for my advice or not.

 

 

 

My First Music Class

When Megg told me that she enrolled the babies in their first music class, I kind of thought she was kidding.

I asked her to explain what exactly would take place at this music class and she explained it all to me.  After she painted a very vivid picture of kids sitting on laps, adults making goofy hand gestures, and kids beating drums, I remained skeptical.

I love singing to my babies.  I’ve made up so many nonsensical songs with them and I sing them all so fervently while dancing like a complete idiot in the privacy of my home.  But I like to keep it there, at home.

I’m a pretty reserved dad when I’m around other people because I always think they’ll assume I’m just putting on a show, and that I couldn’t possibly be that goofy and head over heels for my twins.  But it’s true.  I’m a lunatic for them.  Totally smitten.

When I left for work on the morning of music class, I asked Megg three questions:

Q1: Should I wear shoes that I can dance in?

A1: You will not dance.  Seriously.

Q2: Will I be permitted to sing?

A2: You won’t even know the songs (as if that’s ever stopped me).

Q3: Is there any chance I’ll be asked to sing a solo?

A3: Please leave.

And so I left for work, picturing myself that afternoon, sulking as I sat on a dirty floor with either Baby A or Baby B on my lap, as I refused to partake in hand gestures, clapping, and above all else, singing.

When we arrived (and even on time), I was happy to see that quite a few other parents braved the freezing temperatures to take their kids to music class.  It was the perfect number of people to make the class comfortable for a newbie like me.  We introduced ourselves and our babies to Miss Barbara, who would be leading our music hour on behalf of Kids’ Music Round.

She is the epitome of a person who would lead a children’s music class.  Warm and outgoing, great with names, always smiling, and spoke with unparalleled excitement in her voice.  She had no idea that I was a skeptic, but she won me over immediately.

Miss Barbara, who wasn’t nearly as “hippie-dippie” as I imagined her to be, then explained to us, as parents, how we should interact with our babies and the music (yes, you interact with the music) during the class.  Because the babies were too young to clap their own hands, or keep the beat by themselves, we should tap the beat on their feet or bodies.  She advised us not to clap their hands for them because they should be free to move as they wanted.  I pictured Scout magically clapping her hands to the beat, all by herself, like a regular wunderkind.

Then we began with the first song, which of course, was your standard welcome-to-music-class-we-are-going-to-incorporate-all-of-your-names-into-this-song type of song.

I glanced around at the other parents, who knew all the words and weren’t afraid to prove it.  They looked right at Griffin when his name was called out in the song.  Scout too.

I took the bait.

Before I knew it, I was singing along to the best of my ability, tapping Griffin’s feet and tummy along with the beat.  Miss Barbara, who can strum the crap out of that guitar, continued to coach us on which methods work best for engaging the babies without stifling their creativity, or whatever.

We sang, we laughed, and yes, we danced.  For the first time in a while, I danced in front of other people, outside of my home, without having a drop of alcohol.  Miss Barbara was working some serious magic.

We steered clear of drums and drumsticks when the time came for the kids to use instruments.  The babies have become “grabby” lately and Griffin loves swinging those arms, so a drumstick would have been a bad idea.  But I’m sure he loved the tambourine just as well.

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Long before I was ready to leave, we found ourselves back on the floor, singing our goodbye song.

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Miss Barbara even gave us a CD to take home!  She probably recognized my attempt to sing along without knowing the words and wanted to spare me further embarrassment.  We sang the songs on the way home, during dinner, and long after the babies went to bed for the night.

I’m a believer.  I don’t know how much the babies took from it, but I know that I had a blast.  I let my guard down and loved seeing my wife and babies in this new environment.  My transformation to dork-dad is now complete, and that’s fine with me.

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Scout and Griffin’s First Snow Day!

Our normal Tuesday took a turn for the better, thanks to lackluster Winter Storm Juno.

Schools were closed throughout the state and a snow day was issued.  My first snow day of the year and Scout and Griffin’s first snow day ever!

The day began like a weekend, which meant that I could get up early to change diapers and feed babies.  But this time, I did it with my GoPro mounted on my forehead like an idiot.  I pretended we were making a documentary to film the carnage outside, which really only consisted of a 5″ of snow, but I brought a dramatic flare to the event like no one else could.

After the babies had their two hour morning stretch of fun and games, they were back down for naps, which meant I could go out and shovel the snow.  Before I went out, I told Megg that we could go to IKEA if she wanted, because we didn’t really have anything else to do and a trip to IKEA was always a fun way to kill a few hours.  She was way more excited about the idea than I was, so we scheduled a time to leave.  But before we left, Megg made it clear that she wanted to take photos of the babies in their first snow.

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our little eskimo.

 

Megg takes a lot of photos and I’m really thankful that she’s successfully documented almost every event of our lives in the past twelve years, but most of the time, I turn into a whiny child when she attempts to take photos.  This time wasn’t so bad and we were able to take a few family photos in our backyard Winter Wonderland.  Scout, Griffin, and Dad all cooperated and Mom was pleased, I think.

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snow selfie.

 

 

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Scout clearly loved it 🙂
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One hour after our scheduled departure time (as usual), we were on the road!  We timed our trip perfectly with the tapering of the snow storm and we had the roads all to ourselves.  Griffin screamed for the first 20 minutes of the car ride because he hates the car, if I hadn’t mentioned that before, but otherwise, it was smooth sailing.  The roads into Philadelphia were all cleared of snow and traffic and we made it to IKEA in record time.  Now let’s get some Swedish meatballs!

IKEA offers the best and cheapest lunches around, so after taking photos of the babies and their first IKEA entrance, we made a beeline for the restaurant, which was also deserted.  We had an easy lunch with our two happy babies and then made our way to the Children’s section of the store.

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She doesn’t even know how much she loves Ikea. Yet.

 

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We picked up a sweet rubber mat for the inside of the tub so we could alleviate some of the slipping and sliding that the babies would do in the tub, then moved on and grabbed a carpet to lay down for the babies to play on once they’re a little more “capable”.

Then we found him.

IKEA makes an eerily-human doll that’s the exact size of our babies.  I picked up the doll and looked at him.  He looked back at me as if he was waiting for me to pick him up.  Pretty creepy.  I turned the doll towards Griffin and his eyes grew wide.  He smiled at the doll as if they were old friends or something and he started reaching for him.  It was hilarious.  I presented the doll again and Griffin had the same reaction.  The kid is so friendly and just loves meeting new people,so he treated this doll no differently.

I called Megg over so she could watch Griffin greet his new buddy.  Same reaction.  We laughed like a couple of idiots and filmed the introduction so we could share it with you.

Griffin Meets New Friend
Click to view the introduction

For some dumb reason, we passed on buying on the doll, which we’ll probably buy the next time we visit the store.

We quickly made our way through the households section and worked our way to the registers.  We walked underneath a gigantic industrial ceiling fan, which left both babies mesmerized, but we didn’t buy that either.

Mom bought a vanilla ice cream cone, like she always does when we leave IKEA, and we packed the car and headed home.

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it’s tradition, what?

 

Today was a huge success for several reasons.  No school, no cabin fever, no traffic. We scored a great lunch, some great deals, and managed to take the twins to IKEA for the very first time.  I’m sure it will be their first trip of many, and before they know it, they’ll realize that IKEA is where Mom and Dad bought all of their nursery furniture because they’re absolutely brilliant!

 

The pups also enjoyed the snow day!

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stellaloo!
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The Curious Incident of the Missing Socks

I have no idea idea how it happens, but it happens, and it happens too frequently.  Our babies’ socks just vanish.  Or more specifically, one sock vanishes.  It would probably be better if both socks just up and vanished because I probably wouldn’t even realize it, but I’m not that lucky.

How does it happen?

I’m sure the whole issue is worse for us because we have two babies and twice the amount of socks to keep track of, but I imagine that parents of singletons struggle with this very real issue too.  In fact, I know they struggle with it because we received a basket of hand-me-down socks from my gracious sister in law a few months before the babies were born.  We washed and dried the socks before tucking them away in the babies’ room, but when we were matching pairs (or lack thereof), we probably had a 3:1 ratio of matching socks and those socks who lost their counterpart.  I  didn’t think much of it at the time and I just hoped that she would bring the missing socks, but she never did.  They were gone forever.

Two socks come off one baby, two socks go into the laundry pile, two socks go into the washing machine, two socks (probably) go into the dryer, and then one sock comes out.

The lint trap yields no missing sock, so I run outside and hope that it was spit out of the dryer’s exhaust hose, but no dice.

It makes no sense.

To be fair, they can sometimes be found at the bottom of footy pajamas, but this comes nowhere close to accounting for all of them.

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Still awaiting response

 

Until a logical explanation can be given, the smartest course of action is to just buy plain white socks for the babies.

Will they still disappear?  Of course.  But at least we won’t notice.