Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five Month: Reflections

Things we Learned About Nolan Gerard:
My baby Nolan really struggled with sleep this month, but I think we learned that he may not need much sleep to function normally.  One the nights where he would be up half or most of the night I would worry about what his next day would be like.  Wouldn't he be exhausted?  Wouldn't he be cranky beyond repair?  Wouldn't he be desperate to be held?  We came to find out that all these answers were no. He would be his regular self whether he slept all night long or not at all. 

During these sleep struggles though, some things about Nolan were reconfirmed.  Nolan gets scared easily.  Nolan loves to snuggle.  Nolan does not like change.  Nolan likes to be a part of any action that's happening around him. 

In other Nolan news, he is much more mobile this month.  Tummy time has turned from being something my boys hate to do into something they elect to do themselves.  Nolan can lift himself up far with his arms while on his belly. He is also starting to figure out how to scoot just a little so he can reach things while on his tummy.  He can roll over whether on his back or on his tummy too, which has helped him start to get to wherever he wants to go. 

Nolan has an extreme need to grab people and be close to them.  It's very sweet, but can turn a little sour when he rips your earring out, scratches your neck or gouges out your eye ball.  The person who takes the brunt of this need, though, is poor Judah.  Nolan has to touch him all the time.  He holds Judah's hand, rests his palm on Judah's head, grabs Judah's ear, and loves to try to eat Judah's fingers, toes, and outfits. Judah is not a fan. 

His new favorite thing to do, though, is crazy Pilate's abb work outs.  He will be laying on his back, lift his head way up, then lift his legs up too and sometimes he even crosses them.  I could work my abs for years and probably never do that as well as he can. I'm not sure it will help him do things like sit up on his own, but it helps him see things better so whatever works.  I'm pretty sure  he has a six-pack already. 

Nolan is also talking like crazy!  He makes so much loud noises and yells and we love it.  He is also laughing out loud and squealing too, which we also love :)

Things We Learned About Judah Matthew:
For all of his brother's sleep struggles, Judah has been the complete opposite and shown us this month how much he LOVES and NEEDS sleep.  I'm fairly certain that Judah could sleep anywhere, anytime.  Each time we put him in his crib, he leans his head over to one side, puts his arm up by his eyes (he would probably love a sleeping mask just like his Daddy does), and his body relaxes in a zen calm and he. is. out. 

One of the things we were most nervous about as Nolan has been struggling to sleep, is how that would affect Judah.  Nolan isn't a quiet baby...at all.  Josh and I were paranoid about how many times Nolan would wake up Judah during the night with his crying.  However, Judah has shown that he can sleep through A LOT.  Nolan's noise usually makes Judah stir, but he consistently puts himself back to sleep.  I know that twins get very used to each others cries so they almost turn into white noise and I am thankful that has turned out to be true with our boys for the most part. 

Again this month, Judah's NEED for sleep has also been confirmed.  He has, on several occasions, had total breakdowns for even hours at a time just because he was tired and wasn't able to fall asleep right away.  An example of this was when we were driving home from my parents cottage and Judah cried for over TWO hours in the car.  He was exhausted and couldn't seem to figure out how to go t sleep.  When this happens he is inconsolable no matter how many tricks we've tried.  We've learned to ride out that storm until he finally sleeps (however long that might take)  Because of this, Josh and Judah pretty much missed the entire celebration after their baptism :)

Judah has also been obsessed this month with trying to scoot, squeeze, or stretch himself out of everything: Bumbos, bouncy seats, swings, arms, couches, car seats, changing tables, etc.  I think he'd be happiest in a huge room with nothing in it so he could have all the space he could ever want.  If there is anything in the way of him, he just hates it.  Nolan's incessant need to touch him ALWAYS doesn't help this either.

Judah is also talking and laughing.  His noises are quieter than Nolan's (which is not surprising), but are just as cute and just as lovable.  He is also turning out to be ticklish.  He will laugh while getting his toes tickled or around his neck tickled.

He is less interested in standing up than Nolan, but we think much more interested in crawling than Nolan is.  Also, I am predicting that he will be more "ready" to try food than Nolan will too.

  Some Firsts:
  • Judah and Nolan (in that order), made their first real laughs this month, one day apart from one another.  Since, they have both (especially Nolan) been babbling and laughing up a STORM! 
  • Nolan finally rolled over from his back to his stomach. Now both boys (especially Judah) are rolling machines.
  • 1st cold- Both boys and me got a cold in the middle of September while we were at the cottage.  Nolan and Judah both had plugged noses that got them up every single hour one night because they couldn't breathe good enough. 
  • Boys were baptized (9-22-13)
  • We had their first stroller ride with no sleeping (9-24-13).  This may not seem like a big deal, but we had been fearful to take stroller rides lately because the boys always fell asleep during them.  Because we were so focused on a consistent nap and sleep schedule, we'd been skipping buggie rides and it was bothering me since we very well might be missing this amazing fall weather we've been having.  So I packed up the boys after they ate when they are usually their most awake and alert and took them out.  They were smiling and looking and playing the whole ride and we've been riding around ever since. 
  • That same day (9-24-13), I got BOTH boys to smile for a picture.  Again, this may not seem like a big deal, but I've taken probably 2,000 pictures of them and I could not ever make that happen
  • 10-1-13~ Judah spits up IN my mouth.  Yes, that's right.
  • 10-2-13~ First visit to the apple orchard (Clearview Orchard)
  • 10-4-13~ First parade (Holt's homecoming parade)

Twin Moments:
  • Recently, we've heard the boys babble to one another in bed when they are waking up in the morning.
  • While I read to them, they usually hold hands.
  • Boys got their cold it seems like at the exact same moment!
  • My mom and sister Colleen had an incident where the boys were feeding off of each other: they were making each other cry

Reflections About Being a Mom:
This month was so focused on sleeping and napping.  The boys teased us by spending much of time between turning three months and four months sleeping through the night.  When we had about three weeks of this pure bliss, it was ripped out from under us in a whirlwind I affectionately like to call, Nolan.  For almost a week straight during this month, Nolan hardly slept at all during the night.  He woke up every hour of two.  This wouldn't be so bad if he would go right back to sleep, but because he is exactly like me, he didn't and he doesn't.  It takes him quite a long time to fall back asleep.  So this month, we made it my life's mission to solve this sleep problem.  Josh and I read and read and researched and researched.  We had conversations daily about what our next plan was going to be and what the steps were.  I realized something about myself as a mom through all of this....

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing (go figure)!

I know being a parent is a lot of guess and check.  You try one thing, it works, you keep doing it until it doesn't.  You try something else, it doesn't work, you keep thinking and try other things. The first place we consulted in our sleep research was the book Josh had read called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins.  That didn't do us much good.  Then we researched all kinds of things online and would talk about it to see what we could pull from and use.  We also read the book The Baby Sleep Solution.  We also consulted friends and parents for tips and advice.  What I didn't realize about myself was how easily I could be persuaded. 

For example, the book The Baby Sleep Solutions is a regimented plan that claims to be able to get your baby to sleep for twelve hours a night.  It has a lot to do with when to feed babies and how to help them self-sooth through the night by trying a lot of tools before actually picking up an awake crying baby.  That plan seemed fairly strict.  I was all about it and so was Josh.  We got fired up on how we were going to help our boys (in this case, Nolan) help himself so he could stay in bed.  I was ready to be a drill Sergent...bring it on! 

Then, I talked with my mom (sigh).  She used to pick us up and rock us and snuggle us if we woke up in the night.  She talked about how babies are only little a short time.  She talked about how they need to know that you are trustworthy and will help them when they need it.  She also guessed that with twins, someone like Nolan may just want a little one-on-one parent time that he wasn't getting as much of during the day.  She also talked about how if the best way for everyone to get a little sleep is for Nolan to sleep on us for a few hours when he's having trouble, who really cares?  So after I was in tears thinking about what a precious time this baby time is, I was all about her plan.  Forget the schedule, forget the steps, I was going to love all over my baby no matter how many times or for how long they were awake for.

Because I am a first time mom, it's hard to figure out what really works for me.  Because my babies are only five months old, it also must be hard for them to figure out what works for them.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't the type of person that needed to seek out answers when I was struggling and could maneuver more on my own to see what's successful, but alas, my control freak, type A, worry wart personality will not let me be laid back about anything :)

So this month, Josh and I read a lot, researched a lot, discussed a lot, reflected a lot, and ended up coming up with something that is a combination of everything that felt comfortable to us.  I think I did pretty good:  I did my due diligence of knowing solutions that may be out there and I merged that with what I know about me, about Josh, and about Nolan and Judah and created something that both Josh and I can get behind and feel good about.

Did it work?  Only time will truly tell, but we are all sleeping much better :)

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