Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fourth Month: Reflections

This month seemed like a biggie...maybe because it was the last month of summer and the last month of my staying home full time, but we really tried to soak it all in...

What we Learned About Nolan Gerard:
Nolan came a long way in several milestones this month.  He has gotten much more accepting of doing some work during tummy time and has been rolling over from his stomach to his back more often and more comfortably.  He has a strong head and very strong arms. It's crazy how high he can lift himself when he's on his stomach sometimes.  He's been experimenting with lifting his head up while he's lying on his back also.  Nolan has also been babbling up a storm.  While we went to visit Ashley up north was the first time we really heard a babyish laugh or giggle out of him and he hasn't shut up since.  Those noises, just like smiles, are worth a million dollars.  My heart swells so big every time I hear him or Judah talking.  Nolan needs to be a part of everything.  At gatherings, even if it's nap time, he will fight and fight to go to sleep because he'll want to be looking at everyone and putting on a show for everyone.  He hates sleeping if he feels like he's going to miss something.

He's taken a liking to a few select toys including this Lamaz red dog.  It's nice that he can be put in a better mood if one of his toys is near.  Nolan is also obsessed with TV.  We will turn his head from any direction to try to find the television.  Sometimes I have to turn it off while I'm breastfeeding because he will stretch to try and see it while eating.  Silly boy.   

I find him to be so much more calmed down.  He still thrives on predictability and routine, but is in general a much more happy baby each month that goes by.  He needs to be touching Judah at all times.  It's very cute how he always needs to know that his brother is near him by grabbing onto Judah's clothes, ears, hands, face, etc.  Judah, however, is not much a fan of this :)   

What we Learned About Judah Matthew:
Judah has always been our much more laid back, go with the flow baby, but this last month, I am finding that he needs routine and predictability almost as much as his brother.  He does not want to make a big fuss when he feels that his schedule has been interrupted so he often looks to Nolan to 'get loud' about something that's an annoyance.  He will look at Nolan as if to say, "HELLO?! Why aren't you getting mad about this right now?!"  If Nolan delays in being the 'squeeky wheel' Judah will step in gladly :) 

He, like his brother, has made great gains in tummy time also by continuing to be a rolly polly little thing.  If he's on his stomach, he will be flipped to his back in no time.  If he's placed on his back, he will be flipping over to his stomach in no time.  He has never rolled two times in a row, but I'm sure that will be coming soon. 

He too has a few toys that are becoming his favorites.  He seems to take a liking to blankets.  He loves the tag blanket his Aunt Jessica got him and a blue blanket with a rattly teddy bear attached that he got from my mom.  He is also into biting on his thumb. I won't quite call it sucking yet. 

Judah does not talk as much as Nolan, but will have conversations with you.  Nolan's babbles are more random, but Judah will try to mimic noises others are making at him.  He has also been smiling much more during this month and his head has become much stronger. 

Some Firsts:
  • Baby laughter (had by both boys)
  • Sleeping in their cribs now...there were many tears had by this momma the first night they were out of our room :(
  • First time to Holland/Zeeland area
  • First time at a restaurant (New Holland Brewery in Holland, MI)
  • First time up north (Petoskey AND Traverse City)
  • First time to Grand Rapids
  • First MSU football game (we watched on TV)
  • First time with a non family babysitter (Thanks Eileen and Al!)
Twin Moments:
  • As mentioned before, if Nolan is anywhere near Judah, he will grab him and hold him
  • They are smiling at each other more
  • Both have made noises at the other one
  • We had a super scary night of sleep a few weeks back where both boys had their movement sensors go off in the middle of the night.  Josh and I threw ourselves out of bed scared each time.  Thankfully all were false alarms. 
Reflections on Being a Mom:
As I sit here writing, I have survived my first couple of weeks being back to work as a teacher.  Even though I will be part time this year (Working only Thursdays and Fridays), in the beginning of the school year I've worked much more than that.  There is so much work teachers endure before the year starts: Getting classrooms ready, going to many meetings, open house, etc etc and I needed and wanted to be a part of all of that.  So, I had to work a lot and it was very difficult.  Almost every morning there has been tears shed and lots of feelings of guilt.  I know this is the best decision and I know how blessed I am to be able to do the part time thing, but I've been at home with them since May, and it's been rough getting back.

One of the hardest parts about the transition is giving up some of my control to both my role as caregiver and my role as teacher.  I'm a control freak and  I need to be 'all in' to every single thing I do.  Now, when I'm at school, I can't be all in as a mom for those 8 hours and when I'm at home, I can't be all in at school.  Thankfully, I could not have given up some of my control to better people.  When I'm at home, I know my students are in good hands with my amazing teaching partner who is there Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.  I trust her, respect her, and know that my students are being 10000000% taken care of.  When I go to work, my dad is my boys' main caregiver.  He has been incredible and has been patient with me as I wrote a seven page 'bible' about the twins and made him come over to my house for orientation.   

One of my favorite moments this month was going to Zeeland to spend the weekend with Josh's old roommates from college and their families.  Two of his roommates also have baby boys that are within 6 months of age to Nolan and Judah.  It was amazing to watch all these guys be dads and we were able to all have a successful night of sleep with 4 babies under 9 months old under the same roof.   

While there, we explored downtown Holland and went into a baby store.  My double stroller, as usual, turned many heads.  I got into a lovely conversation with a woman who approached me to share that her daughter was also having twins and that she just found out they were going to be two boys.  She asked me my advice about what kinds of products her daughter needed to have.  Of course I went immediately to the Brest Friend, my huge XL Boppy I use to breastfeed the twins in.   As we continued talking, I realized that the twin thing wasn't the only thing this woman's daughter and I had in common. 

Her mom shared with me that she was a labor and delivery nurse so I shared that my mom was a RNICU nurse.  She also shared with me that her daughter had worked very hard for her twins.  That's the not too intimate way of sharing that these were fertility twins so I immediately told her a little bit about Josh and my struggle to get and stay pregnant.  Come to find out that her daughter had a couple of miscarriages under her belt as well.  The bond that I feel I share with other struggling fertility patients is so deep and full of such great emotional connection.  When I find out that someone else has been taking part in fertility treatments, there is so much more I can relate with than just that fact.  I know about how it takes up your entire life, I know about how fertility treatments can suck a lot of the romance out of trying to get pregnant, I know about all the appointments, the scheduling, the medicines, the bad news, the let downs.  I know about the feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and inadequacy.  I also find myself so drawn to other parents of twins.  Twin parents and fertility patients get me in a way that other people cannot.   

Another accomplishment in our traveling life was that in one weekend we drove to Petoskey on a Friday to spend the night with Ashley, drove from Petoskey to Traverse City on that Saturday to go to a surprise birthday party for Josh's old roommate, Nate, and then drove from Traverse City to home that same day.  The boys did wonderful for being in the car so much.  We can go places with twin babies!  It's a miracle ;) 

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