Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fat babies

The girls had their one month pediatrician visit yesterday. One month already! What a month it has been; a hazy progression of days and nights all more or less the same: eat, sleep, pee, poop, cry, fidget, grunt, squeak, stare. And that pretty much sums it up for the babies, too.

I feel closer to and more fond of them than I did in the first couple of weeks. They are starting to be a bit more alert, and occasionally even make what could be considered eye contact. I am still very much looking forward to their first smiles and coos, though. A change of wardrobe would also be nice. We have to dress them in the same damned Gerber sleep-n-plays day in and day out, because nothing else fits. We have lots of adorable sleepers labeled "newborn," but I've decided that that must mean newborn baleen whales. We could fit both Elsa and Clio into the sleeve of one of them.

Having smaller than average babies really does throw your perspective off. Other babies start looking like monstrous pituitary cases by comparison. At the doctor's office a couple of weeks ago I saw a baby just a week older than ours with a head like a sumo wrestler's. I mean, it seriously looked like someone had inserted a bicycle pump needle in his ear and inflated him. I thought maybe there was something wrong with him until I saw another similarly fat-headed newborn a few days later and began to realize: hey, our babies are wicked small. (And much cuter if you ask me.)

But soon enough, they will become little plumplings too, and we'll swoon over how many folds of fat they have around their wrists. At yesterday's appointment, Clio weighed in at six pounds even, and Elsa the Insatiable clocked in at an impressive six and a half – a one pound gain in two weeks! It was quite gratifying to find out that they'd grown, and that all the breastfeeding was actually doing something besides keeping them alive. When the nurse announced Clio's weight I exclaimed jubilantly, inexplicably, "You're like a real baby now!"

Note: I had to take a break from writing this, as both babies suddenly decided to wake up and fuss their heads off. A few minutes in the sling seemed to do it for Clio, and then I sat and rocked Elsa for a while until she fell asleep. Then, naturally, as soon as I put Elsa down in the crib, Clio woke up and started crying in her bleating, comically explosive sort of way, and a few minutes later Elsa was crying too, in her more whimpering, distressed sort of way, and shushing and pacifiers didn't work, so I tried something new: I took the hose out of the vacuum cleaner and plugged it in next to the Pack-n-Play for some nice white noise. I noticed the other day while actually vacuuming that it seemed to calm them. Now they're both asleep, and the question is: do I turn off the vacuum or keep it running? It's awfully loud…OK, I turned it off. Both of them sort of twitched a little, and Clio is doing some of her baby tai chi with her right hand, but they haven't actually woken up. And if they do, well, it's almost time for another feeding anyway.

It truly does suck when they're both crying and there's no one else around to hold and comfort one baby while I tend to the other, or, in the case of two hungry babies, to help me get them both nursing at once.

Shit, there goes Clio. "Blaaah!" Do I turn the vacuum back on? Let's try and see what happens…

Right. That worked. Well, sorry Earth. Sorry twins' college fund. We're going to be running up some astronomical electric bills in the next few months. Between the extra laundry and dishwasher loads, the space heater in our bedroom, and the fact that we're home all day and it's January, we're already breaking new utility expenditure records. What's a few bucks more to employ the Dirt Devil as a stereo system?

Or drive the Subaru aimlessly around with the girls in the back. We did that the other night to calm them down when we cockily decided to try to go out to dinner and bring them along. We figured, why not? As long as they're asleep – which they are about 75% of the time – we can just have them sit in their car seats next to us in a booth and enjoy dinner while they snooze. We'd go to El Guapo – the mediocre Mexican place a few blocks away from our house, which always has a nice hum of background/bar noise, and which we can escape easily if the babies have a meltdown.

We concocted this plan last week, but didn't get around to executing it until this week. And what a difference a week makes. Whereas last week, the gals would have conked out for a good two hours after their early evening feeding, this week they have begun a campaign of dinner hour eat-and-fuss binges. So our foolhardy dinner outing began with spending forty-five minutes driving around trying to get them to fall asleep. First, we just stuck to local roads, but soon realized that they were about as smooth and pothole-free as your average road in Gabon, so we got on Route 93 and drove a few exits up and back. Clio fell asleep, but Elsa was still wailing when we got off the highway, so we pulled off the road and I crawled into the backseat (did you know that it's possible to wedge yourself between two carseats in the back of a Subaru if you can balance on one hip?) and gave Elsa the "top-off" bottle we'd brought. She sucked the whole thing down, and finally fell asleep just as we were pulling up to the restaurant. The only parking spot remotely close was a fifteen-minute one. I said fuck it; it's 19 degrees out. Let's take our chances.

From there on out, dear readers, I'm happy to report that the gods of infant care smiled upon us. We didn't get a parking ticket, and the girls slept like rocks, tucked into their carseats, tucked into the booth near the back of the restaurant where we were seated, while we ate our mediocre Mexican food and made snide comments about the musical act – a twenty-something guy with an acoustic guitar doing covers of nineties alterna-pop tunes. (Me: Whose stupid-ass song is this? 182 Melons? A: I think it's Blind Hazel Eye. Me: Or Hooty and the Gin Sister?)

OK -- I just tried turning off the vacuum again, and now, five minutes later, Elsa is starting to fidget. (I can tell their noises apart from afar now.) At least they're tag teaming instead of both going at it at once. But I have a feeling we're on the verge of a double meltdown. It's been almost three hours since their last feed, so it's time to give in to the inevitable and pull out the milk jugs. (Hey: is that where the term "jugs" came from? It never occurred to me before...)

More soon...


Blogger Larki said...

Oh my dear, you are a heroine! You just seem to COPE so well, and you are such a fine and funny writer on top of it. TTD and I have been going around repeating, "Eat, sleep, pee, poop, grunt, fidget, squeak, stare," to each other and cackling maniacally. Hee.

And yeah, what is it with the vacuum cleaner? We used that, and a white noise machine, and numerous car rides...and how well I do remember squashing myself between two car seats to dangle a boob over Urplet on long car trips. But you, you are dangling TWO boobs!

12:54 AM  
Anonymous heather said...

I got a brand new vacuum cleaner for Valentine's Day (very romantic) when my son was 1 1/2 weeks old. I pretty much used it constantly and now at 2-years tomorrow, he rides around the house on the vacuum. I think it is his best friend.

As to the baby size... I had to crack up laughing about your pituitary case comment. I took my son to the pediatrician every week for his first six-weeks because I was sure he had some kind of metabolic disorder causing him to be a baby-of-unusual-size. He was born at 10 lbs. 1 oz, and proceeded to gain six pounds in his first six weeks. What the hell is that? It was really quite freaky and this was all on a breastmilk cocktail alone. I'm 27-weeks pregnant right now and I can only surmise that I will have a 15-pound baby who will triple his birth weight by the age of 2 months.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

When my girls were that young, we lived next to a sorority on Lucas Street. We used a fan for white noise - it wasn't quite as noisy as a vacuum. Then when the girls and I lived above the Hilltop, we used the fan again. My oldest daughter still uses it to get and stay asleep. I'm very thankful for white noise.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous RCH said...

Wow! You really are coping well, and I'm glad you can see the humor in all of this. Great job with the restaurant trip - you are brave parents.

We used an air purifier for white noise (we happened to have one) - it worked really well and we figured it also keep the diaper pail smell down, as well as giving E. some nice clean air to breathe. If you want one, let me know - we have 3.

The vacuuming is funny, too - I hate vacuuming, so I never tried it, but my mom told me that their house was spotless when I was a baby because I was colicky and the vacuum was the only thing that calmed me down.

As the mother of an unusually large baby (9 lbs 4 oz, 22 in. at birth, who grew to 15 lbs by 3 months), I used to think that the other teeny babies were all preemies.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Motel Manager said...

You are indeed a heroine!

My dog also loves the vacuum cleaner. If he had a resume, under the "interests" section, he would list "vacuum observation."

11:04 AM  
Blogger Eva said...

You cracked me up. And also reminded me so much of the early days with my 2 (well, early days being only a couple of months ago, but what a difference a couple of months makes). So, sorry for the ridiculously long comment, but...
-You are right, those first smiles will send you to the moon.
-We had the same clothes problem, but now are putting away lots of NB and 0-3 clothes and missing them.
-Our friends' babies who were only a few weeks older looked like monster - to us in the beginning and now we realize our babes are bigger than they were then - you're doing a great job of growing babies.
-we called it baby tai chi, too.
-We used a CD of waterfalls. But I just saw you can buy a Happiest Baby on the Block CD which includes hairdryer sounds, and there's also one called "For Crying Out Loud" which includes vacuum sounds -- probably cheaper than a new vacuum.
-You are brave to take them out to dinner so early. But I too have done the wedged between 2 car seats in the back of a Subaru, sometimes for hours on a long trip.
-we called our bottles top up, too.
Okay, I'll stop now, but did want to say you're in one of the toughest periods now and you seem to be doing great, and it gets so much easier relatively soon (until they crawl, I hear, we'll see about that).

11:24 AM  
Blogger meeegan said...

If you turn off your clothes dryer's buzzer, the baby-in-the-carseat-on-top-of-the-running-dryer act works well as a tranquilizing alternative to a car ride.

3:29 PM  

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