Dear Henry, Dear Jack,
Today you are four months old! (Ed: Well, today, when this actually gets finished and published, you are four months and two days old…) What a month we have had! The two of you are beginning to become actual people with actual personalities, with preferences for us to figure out and with patterns of behavior that are beginning to surface. People ask me what it’s like with twins, and the best response I can come up with is “It’s a trip.” because it is! It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and when I thought about what it would be like to raise the two of you, I don’t know that I ever could have imagined that this is what it would be. It’s both 100 times harder and 100 times better than I thought.
This month has been an explosion of development for both of you. I’ve said before that you have begun to notice each other, but now, it’s a daily thing to spend time staring at each other, chattering and smiling. You still hold hands while nursing, but now you also pat each other’s face and push on each other and eye each other very closely while nursing. You really interact with each other, and I love that. And you both have grown so much that you no longer fit in your bassinets. We’ve tried the crib, but so far, this hasn’t really worked for either of you. But that’s okay for now, because your father and I love co-sleeping with you. You both have begun to (sort of) settle into a naptime routine. You take a short nap in the morning, a longer nap midday, and then a third nap in the late afternoon. Nighttimes have become a little bit more difficult– some nights you don’t want to fall asleep, some nights you don’t want to stay asleep, and some nights are an all-out protest against sleeping anywhere but in our arms. That part is rough, but I know that this is such a short time in your lives that it’s hard to get too upset about it. Eventually, you will learn to sleep through the night. Eventually, you will sleep in your own crib. Eventually, that crib will be in your room! But for now, as with all things, we play it by ear. Despite what the outcome is, I just hope you both know that despite our clumsiness with this whole new-parent thing, your father and I both want nothing but the very best for you, and everything we do with you is toward that end. If we mess up, it is with the best of intentions in our hearts that we do so.
Whoa. That one word could sum up my feelings about you this last month. Whoa– you learned to turn over from your back to your stomach and two days later, from your stomach to your back! And whoa– as in, hold on! Slow down! You’re growing too fast!! You almost never sit still anymore, preferring to worm yourself into a position so that you can practice your rolling.
You have no interest in being still– you have GOT to move! You do what I call “puddling”, where you let certain limbs go limp so that I’ll have to hold you differently, so that you can get yourself into whatever position you want. Of course, most of the time, you either want to be laid on your back so you can turn to your tummy, or you want to slide into some sort of position where you can nurse! And, about half the time, once you are on your tummy, you are MAD and want to be somewhere else. I swear you are going to crawl any second now! (Not really, but I bet if you could just get your legs underneath you, you’d be off in a flash!) You are clearly a man with places to go.
Of course, you still love being held. And yes, for now, I’m still number one in your book. You’ve really begun to smile and giggle and mimic Papa, but when it comes down to it, it’s me you want. And in that way, you are a pretty easy baby. As long as I’m available to hold you, everything’s okay. But, of course, as you’ll surely understand someday, Mama needs some time to herself on occasion, and on those occasions, if you decide that Papa won’t do, then it’s scream, scream, screeeeam! It’s flattering, but it makes it difficult to get things done sometimes.
You’ve begun to change the way you “talk”– suddenly, not everything is “nah, nah, nah.” Things are now a full range of vowel sounds, and all kinds of pitches, and all kinds of volumes– yelling and squealing are two of your new favorites. You continue to be quite precise in your application of “language”. You just sound so deliberate, like you are really trying to tell me something. And you’ve finally begun to giggle, a real, true, hearty, full-body laugh, and I love hearing it! You chuckled on occasion before, but this is a real laugh.
Everything is still Drool City around here. Everything that comes within range gets shoved in your mouth (except, of course, the teethers that we bought for this express purpose– those you have no interest in whatsoever). Your favorite of all things, though, is Papa’s thumb. There’s something magical about the side of his hand…
Lastly, we’ve decided to experiment a bit with solids. (For some reason, the decision to start solids at four months is hotly debated, with some pediatricians swearing that it cannot happen until six months, and some choosing four. As with all things, we more or less chose to follow our instincts. And since you constantly grab at our food when we eat, we thought we’d let you try something a little safer than full-fledged table food. The nay-sayers can do as they’d like with their own families…) And wow, as with all things eating-related, you took to it with ease. So far, you’ve only had very thin rice cereal and very thin pears, and you think rice cereal is okay, but you cannot get enough pears! You haven’t figured out yet that solids aren’t like breast milk– it takes a second to reload the spoon! So you get mighty frustrated between bites, with your mouth open, leaning forward in your chair, chirping at me as if to say, “hurry up, Woman! Let’s get going with those pears!” Have no fear, we will do whatever it takes to keep you as full of pears as you’d like to be!
My Jack-Jack, we are so lucky to have you in our world. You are just such a treasure (that’s what Papa calls you, his “schatzie”). I love you, love you, love you my Jack-a-boobaloo, my great gummy-grinned boy!
My goodness, what a month we’ve had. You have really begun to blossom intellectually. Sometimes I’m sure I can see the wheels turning behind your eyes. You really study things, taking everything in.
While Jack has been busy rolling this way and that, you’ve been content to stay where you are and study the things around you. You’ve been noticing toys for a while now, but it’s only recently that you’ve begun to really grab for them and tug at them. And now, when we hold something interesting in front of you, you almost always grab for it!
You also seem to have connected the idea that various noises will get our attention and elicit a response from us. A couple of weeks ago, you started squealing, and now, you use all manner of ways to make sounds. Sometimes you whisper, sometimes you roll your tongue and make half-voiced “guh” sounds, and sometimes, you just out-and-out shriek. You still won’t let me catch it on video, clamming up the instant the camera comes out, but rest assured, it is adorable. You even have different voices that you use for each of us (I have no idea what you say to Jack, but it sounds like you guys are up to something…).
Part of our decision to start solids was (I’m sorry to say) due to our need to add a little fiber to your diet (ahem). You unfortunately don’t care for pears as much as your brother does, but you think the (whole grain) rice cereal is alright, probably because it’s basically one part cereal to four parts breast milk. You also don’t seem to get the spoon-reloading concept, and get very impatient between bites, like you don’t understand why the boob-flavored stuff is taking so long to get to your mouth!
We read to you at night before bed, and you get so excited about the books, kicking your legs and cooing at us as we read. You seem to get that the pages of the book and the words we say are somehow connected, looking back and forth from the book to the face of whoever is reading to you. You especially like the “old lady whispering ‘hush’,” and smile as Papa echoes me with ‘hushhhhhhhh’.
Lately, you have completely given up sleeping on your own. For a while there, you were content in your bassinet, but you outgrew it, and you don’t seem to like the crib (neither does Jack, though, so maybe it’s the crib and not you!). It’s not a big deal, except that now, you also won’t go to bed in the (center of the) big bed with your brother, unless one of us lays down with you. You’ll sleep for a bit by yourself, but as soon as you realize we’re not there, you get pretty upset and just won’t tolerate being put down again. And so lately, I go to bed early (fine by me!) to lay with you, and then move over to my side of the bed with Jack once Papa comes to bed. I admit that I know it would be so much easier if we just moved both of you to your cribs, but I also know that I love sharing our sleeping time with you. I love knowing that you are close and safe, and I love looking at your little blonde head while you sigh in your sleep (as I also love looking at your brother’s sweet little nose whole he snoozes away!).
You are a drooler, too, but you seem to prefer your own hands and fingers to chew on. Occasionally, when you’re really sleepy, you want to suck on my finger, but for the most part, you’re thrilled with jamming your own fingers as far back in your mouth as you can. We sometimes teasingly call you our ‘baby bulemic’ because you haven’t yet figured out that it’s your own fingers making you gag, and you’ll gag some, pull your hand out of your mouth, and then shove your fingers right back in and gag yourself again! Ah, well. We think it’s funny…
Henny-hoo, my Henny Bear, I am so very glad that (in spite of all the insanity) we chose to go through IVF to make you and your brother part of this family. You are so special and sweet– your smile lights up my life (as trite as that sounds, it’s true. I cannot be grumpy when you smile at me!).
I love you SO much, my Baba-Boy, my Butterbean-Buddy, my sweet Henny.
Here’s to the next four months, and many, many more beyond.