Monday, February 12, 2007

In the fog

Many of you have commented on how well I seem to be coping. Thank you. Yes, overall, I'm coping well, managing to remain sane while transitioning into this life of twin parenthood. But I wouldn't want to give the impression that everything is just hunky-dory all of the time.

In the past couple of weeks (I think? Time is a blur...) the girls have become much more alert, which is fun -- they look around more, even at our faces sometimes. They make squealing noises and kick their legs and flap their arms when we put them under The Stimulator (click the link for the live video expereince). But they also much fussier. Some of it is definitely related to gassiness, judging by their writhing and whining and, well, the farting. As I've postulated, infant flatulence may be the key to world peace, but it also makes for unhappy, uncomfortable babies.

The other frustrating thing is that fussy babies just don't know what's good for them. Sucking on a pacifier soothes them, but they're constantly spitting their pacifiers out, then screaming bloody murder for us to put them back in. They like being in the baby slings we wear, but protest horribly while we put them in.

They even forget that they like their favorite thing of all: nursing. Elsa or Clio will be happily sucking away, then pull suddenly off the breast and start crying, while rooting and opening her mouth for more. I try to get her back on while she bucks and screams and pushes away and I am saying as sweetly as I can manage, "You got it! It's right there! My breast is in your mouth! All you have to do is close your mouth around it! You were doing it ten seconds ago! You were happy! What happened? What the hell is the matter with you, you ingrate? Do you realize that I am feeding you with my body here? That all I do all day is sit around with my tits out so you'll grow? Do you realize what a sacrifice I'm making for you? You never write, you never call..."

As soon as I get the baby in question to latch back on -- sometimes after several minutes of soothing and letting her suck on a pacifier or finger -- she's happy again. Or, in Elsa's case, sucking and whimpering poutily, like I'd been the one keeping her from eating all along. The mean lady with the breasts.

And, naturally, they get fussiest in the evening, when we want to eat dinner, relax, wind down, etc. Last night, they were both so hungry, and so restless. At ten p.m. I was feeding them for the third time since five o'clock. I started with Elsa, then Clio woke up and started screaming, so I nursed them both at once, which is hard to do when they're both agitated, because I don't have a free hand to help if one needs help re-latching. And I was just so goddamned tired, but there was no relief in sight. I'd have to get up again in three hours, and in another three hours after that. And on, and on, and on. And sitting there on the edge of the bed, a wailing baby under each arm, I just started crying.

The author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, which was recommended to us by other twin parents, claims that babies reach a peak of fussiness at around six weeks after their due date, and then tend to mellow out, sleep longer at night, cry less, etc. Since the girls were born at 37 weeks, that means we've got two and a half weeks to go. I hope he's right.

In the meantime, we do what we can: we rock, we shush, we swaddle, we sing, we try to reason with the little buggers, we stick pacifiers in their little rosebud mouths. And if all else fails, there's always the vacuum cleaner CD. A. bought and downloaded 60 minutes of continuous vacuuming sounds. It's grating as hell, and I can't stand the sound of it, but it works wonders and is cheaper (I think) than running the actual vacuum cleaner. We turn it on, and the girls konk out. But not indefinitely. I've had it running while writing this post, but the magic is wearing off. Clio is crying.

And so it goes.


Blogger Churlita said...

I had to wait until I got home from work to watch the video. That was so cool. I love the death match for the pacifier. When they get older they'll be yelling, "Mom, she keeps touching me and getting in my face!"

Your cat is hilarious.

10:21 PM  
Blogger TLB said...

The sound of the girls cooing and groaning caused my cat some little bit of distress.

Ella looks like she was enjoying herself. This is what I will have to look forward to, if I ever manage to steal a child and be somebody's lousy mother.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vacuum cleaner sounds! That just cracks me up. I have a friend who used to put her cranky baby on the washer or dryer for the motion

12:06 AM  
Blogger Eva said...

My babes love the sound of the dishwasher; we have resorted in desperate moments to putting someone in a bouncy seat in front of the dishwasher to fall asleep. And my husband makes a sound that approximates the dishwasher that often relaxes them. The days you're in now are some of the hardest. It's hard to believe, but days will come where they don't need to be held all the time and will entertain themselves (right now, my daughter is laying on the floor staring at a lamp). You're doing amazing and the most fun times are yet to come!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: Other anonymous' comment: you could try putting them IN the washer (small load)... no not the dryer or the microwave.
Has anybody tried duct tape with pacifiers?
Can you tell I'm not a mother?
Or if i was, i'm writing from prison? Buster

5:00 PM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

it's the BEST sleep book in the world. Good call.

also, if the fussiness persists - esp. while nursing - nurse in front of your ped, and have him/her look for symptoms of acid reflux. (so you know, they include back arching, pulling off and screaming while nursing, vomiting (but not always), writhing and twisting while nursing, and trouble burping. All three of my kids had this.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Marie-Baguette said...

The video is so funny! Sorry your life is difficult right now, but your babies are sooooo cute. I loved the cat too! Nice to know that there are white noise CDs out there.

7:20 PM  
Blogger ... said...

Hey neighbor,

Sorry it's been so tough.

If you need an extra pair of hands to hold one of the babies or do anything around the house, just let me know. Okay?


3:43 PM  
Blogger Motel Manager said...

The cat really brings the video together. Nice composition!

It does sound hard, but I still think you are managing admirably well. I have read that stat about fussiness in several books, so it must be true, right? It'll be great when they get past that stage and start to understand causality. I am still waiting for Mark to understand causality (e.g., you bark too much, you have to come inside), but his little canine brain doesn't seem wired for it.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Larki said...

To echo another commentor, you really are in the hardest time, and if you can just make it through another few weeks, it does get easier. And easier, and easier; don't believe those people who say, "Oh, wait until they're teenagers, that's even harder." Nothing's harder than newborns.

Rabbit had horrible colic and screamed incessantly for ten weeks, then suddenly settled down, just when I was ready to lie down and give up. And then, gradually, a bedtime emerged, and then by about six months TTD and I had some evening back and Rabbit had a predictable schedule and life was BETTER. This will happen to you, too. Probably sooner rather than later.

Thinking of you with admiration and great affection and sympathy!

6:04 PM  

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