Monday, December 24, 2007

Eighth Month

Here we are at another marking point in your lives, the eighth month that has held such wonder but started with such trials. I must admit I was teetering at the edge when this month began, a mama that had existed without sleep that really counted for quite a few weeks. You two babies were going through your own trials as this month began, things that kept us busy and so very exhausted and unable to really function.

I was praying for help at the start of this month, prayers of pleading for mercy, for change, for anything that could help us. We were spending more time awake with you than asleep in those weeks and things were unraveling. And then the day came when I tuned into the answers we were receiving and that day marked change in our experiences.
You see, a month earlier I happened to meet another mama of twins in the store, she approached and asked how we were doing. It was such a strange thing, the immediate questioning of our state. But she just knew, she knew things were rough. And she suggested I call her and talk about where we were at in the raising of our twins. We had a long discussion about their approach and current needs of their children, only one month older than you two. And they suggested we try the modified version of CIO (I know, such a controversial term, not to mention subject). At the time I rejected the idea. Although it sounded as if it had helped them solve a lot of sleep issues, I just could not stomach the idea.

Our nights proceeded to deteriorate from that point on and we found ourselves feeding and co-sleeping and changing beds and constantly on edge waiting, just waiting for it to get worse. The morning I woke up and told my mom that I just wanted to leave, to be done, to be away was the worst….I literally could not feel anymore, sleep deprivation had taken it’s worst toll.

Then that day three things happened. I read a blog post from another twin mama detailing their approach to sleep with twins, I spoke with my friend again and her amazing articulate husband, and I received permission, actually instruction to let them cry from my TCM practitioner, Dr. Chen. The universe came together on that day to give me what I needed, the courage to try something different and to let it happen. It was so very scary, anticipating disaster that first night, but it went unbelievably well and the night morning dawned and I felt hope and joy for the first time in weeks.

Since that day we have been experiencing progress with sleep, both for you and for me and for Daddy. It has it’s own challenges, letting you cry, letting you explore what it is you need in order to settle, but it has rewards too. You both now go down successfully each night around 7 and most nights make it until 5 a.m. This happens without too much intervention from us, sometimes a little pat, sometimes a little cuddle, but no feeding, no taking you out of the room, usually not even out of the crib. Yes, 5 is still early, but I will take it over waking ten times a night any day.

The month was not just about sleep, so many significant developments occurred. Owen, you cut your first teeth, right here on the bottom, found by cousin Erinn while she held you at Grandpa’s 80th birthday celebration. It was so great to have a family member find your little sharpie (man, those teeth are lethal. Kinda’ makes me grateful I do not breastfeed, can‘t imagine that latched on my nipple)…and our extended family just loves you both so much. This month of holiday celebrations re-introduced you to many new family members that we do not often see. All of them were so delighted to get to know you a bit more and they commented on your handsomeness (Owen) and cuteness (Mason) (a prevailing theme, I might add)
. A bit of stranger anxiety is starting to set in and you are not always as willing to go to new folks, but you are curious about all of them and all the new settings you experience.

The physical front just keeps moving along, no pun intended. Mason, you are the expert pull to stand boy, determined to get there and willing to stay at your play table for 30 minutes or more, partly because you have yet to really figure out how to sit down. Unlike Owen, you are an impulsive mover, willing to try anything even if your little limbs are not yet steady or sturdy enough to take it. Owen, you discovered that rooms have exits and now no threshold can hold you. For some reason you stop at the door to check out the doorknob, but once you assess that it is still out of your reach, onward ho, until the hinges catch your attention, and then you are out. Hallways do seem to confuse you as does the speed with which your Mama can move. But both of you are truly mobile now and it opens your world and allows you a new view of everything around. I love the way your bodies are changing because of this mobility, but it is slowly taking away your baby-ness and in it’s place I see a boyness. It makes me feel a bit wistful, and those sayings that the time passes so quickly for parents holds more true each day.

Daddy and I marvel at you daily, when you fall asleep we are happy for the quiet moments, but more often than not find ourselves discussing our days, your ways and how we cannot wait to see you again. And then we joke that we are not talking about seeing you between the hours of 11 and 4 because that is just not a fun time for anyone. But we are seeing you establish independence, learn about your world, and discover your voices and your selves. The babbles of Mama and Dada are not truly directed at us yet, but it is exciting to know they will be and we will become those names to you.

I will hold this month and all the previous close, close to my heart. How can it be that my babies are marking their eighth month, their first holiday season is almost at a close, their first teeth in? How will I remember this time? Will I look back and read these entries and remember, truly remember? I wonder at times.
Each month passes swiftly, faster than the last and I wonder. I think forward to the experiences ahead, of all the adventures to come, then reflect back. Eight months seems like so little time and an eternity. There is little room in my mind for the life before you both were here. And so I anticipate it all, try to cherish all the moments, even the hard ones, and remind myself to nuzzle your softest cheeks and hold your growing feet in my hand because I know, I know a bit better that time is moving along and it will not happen again, those stolen moments.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Welcome to the world of Holidays and family and love, love, love. And remember Mama loves you so very much.


Anonymous said...

merry christmas! those pajamas are awesome. i have a present for the boys. you will like i too!

gleek said...

merry christmas! gosh, they are soooo cute! glad to hear that the sleep is getting a bit better. don't beat yourself up about the CIO. you have TWINS! sleep training is all that more difficult. they totally mess each other about, you know? there's only so much you can do!

Rae said...

Oh Mamie, you poor, poor thing. Congratulations on getting more sleep! And for being courageous about it!

Grandmere said...

I haven't been commenting much lately but I am so enjoying your chronicle of the boys' first year. My daughter has done this and now our sweet Katie is 19 months old. You will be so happy you have this record. The other thing she has done is the project 365 on Flickr...a big challenge, but she is one Day 364 today!

CIO is the method used when my babes were little and it is hard but it does work! My older daughter used it with her two. THere comes a point when you have to have sleep!

Your sweet boys are so cute. I hope Christmas was only the first Christmas can be with be with little ones.

Gabrielle said...

I'm so glad at you've found a way to help your boys sleep better, it can make such a difference to your outlook on life, just having some uninterrupted rest to recharge your batteries. Your little guys are amazingly cute - I can't believe how relaxed they look sitting on Santa's lap (Thomas wasn't having a bar of it this year!)Happy holidays and happy eight months to Mason and Owen - you are doing such a brilliant job with your lovely boys.

Dawn said...

I'm obviously still catching up from the falling behind on reading during the holidays...
I turned to CIO when I hit rock bottom at 5 months. It didn't work for Forest and he still ends up in bed with us at around 4 AM. He does things his own way and I'm ok with that because Logan took to it immediately and without a single negative effect. After a few months of being staunch about following various principles I'm really lax now. If Logan cries out during the night, I go in and will even pick him up. Because now he's so well able to put himself to sleep (even when on vacations in strange houses and hotels!!) that I know something must really be wrong. Anyway, point is that I'm glad you found a way to bring peace to yourself so that you can continue being a wonderful well rested momma.