I feel like the worlds shittiest blogger and blog-friend. So many of you stop by regularly to leave me the comment love, and yet, I sit and watch while my Google Reader fills up with your posts and I read, but don’t comment. Truthfully, I’ve been a bit distracted this week. This is in part because I’m dealing with more bedtime issues, but also it’s just something in the air. The seasons have changed really (and finally) and things are feeling a bit– I don’t know, frisky? Unstable? Anyone else get this way around the time change, or other seasonal fluctuations? I just felt baffled this morning that it’s November. I mean, it feels like June was twenty years ago, but at the same time, these last five or so months have passed in a blur. It’s disconcerting is what it is. Out of balance, or something. I’m a bit wobbly.
All of which I say as a lame attempt at asking forgiveness for being a crappy commenter lately. Please know that I am actually reading and I have such wonderful things to say in reply to your posts, but when it comes time to click and leave a comment, I feel either incapable of the focus required to leave my usual (long) comments, or inadequately qualified to reply somehow. So. I’m wiping the slate clean and starting anew this weekend, when I will attempt to sort through the backlog of posts I have bookmarked to comment on, and just try to keep up moving forward.
I think several of you said something similar on my last real post, but Annacyclopedia really hit the nail on the head (she almost always does– good at reading between the lines, she is…). Truthfully, I’m not terribly concerned about their habits right now. Yes, I would like them to sleep for the first segment of the evening in their cribs*. Yes, I would like to have other tools in my Go-To-Bed arsenal**. Yes, I would like Henry to not wake up a thousand times a night. But ultimately, if things continue on being exactly how they are right now, I can’t see any immediate need to change things. I might eventually go a little batty at the lack of long stretches of uninterrupted sleep, but for now, things are really not all that bad.
I think I framed the post the way I did because I really feel almost embarrassed at times over my desire to parent these twins along the semi-attachment-parent path. It’s not that I have any reason to be embarrassed about this, except perhaps that some of the more extreme attachment parents I know use divisive language and tactics in an effort to spread the message (I’m not down with hyper-judgemental behavior of any kind), and I don’t like being lumped in with extremes of any kind. So I waffle or downplay my opinions on parenting styles in an effort to keep myself from seeming like a nutcase who’s going to burn your house down because you circumsized your boy. But truthfully, when I read about someone using CIO, I honestly get a little choked up, not because I think it was a bad decision for the family choosing that path, but because I think about my babies being in that situation, crying, wanting comfort and being denied that comfort, and it breaks my heart, and reconfirms to me that it is 100% against everything that I find right (for MY family).
So here’s the whole truth. While certain opinions of mine do not fall in line with some AP “rules” (like the fact that I fully support ELECTIVE c-births, if that’s what a woman chooses), in general, gentle parenting is what I choose to practice. I’m pretty laid back about certain things (like the fact that my kids apparently have suicidal tendencies*), but when it comes to the way I want to raise these boys, I feel almost defensive of the fact that I want them to feel my love and support in every interaction I have with them. I don’t always like the impact that has on my life, but what I keep coming back to is the fact that this is such a brief time in their lives, and that honestly, the small sacrifices I’m making are just not that big of a deal in the long run.
In truth, I think I was creating pressure that isn’t really there. H and I had a long talk about it the other night. H is the one who co-sleeps with Henry, and Henry is our problem sleeper (part of me really wonders whether his issues might be resolved if he slept closer to me, because I sometimes think he’s waking up looking for Mama’s comfort, and will only go back to sleep if he nurses, even though he’s clearly not hungry and has a loving non-Mama parent dedicated to meeting his needs…). And it has been hard on H. We had been bickering over the last couple of weeks and things kind of came to a head over some comments he made in response to my report of getting a crappy night of sleep one night (I have become a total insomniac, so some nights, even if the boys are okay sleeping, I’m laying awake staring at the ceiling anyway…). Anyhow, he got into some sort of Pain Olympics type conversation (up with which I will not put), and that led to a fight. So, I’ve been really sensitive to his plight over the last week, and have been feeling pressure to change things to ease the burden on H. And after talking about it with H, it turns out that he actually agrees with me that things are not all that bad right now, and he doesn’t necessarily want to stop co-sleeping or rush a sleeping transition of any kind, either. I just presumed that he would want to so that he could sleep better, but I guess for now, that’s not the case. Just goes to show how inaccurate our assumptions can be, I guess.
So I suppose I’m a half-assed attachment parent. I don’t wear the boys all the time (sorry, but 32 lbs of baby strapped to me doesn’t work!), but when I can, I love doing it. I co-sleep, happily, and have no major desire to change that any time soon. I breastfeed, and have been surprised at how important this has become to me (though I obviously have no problem supplementing with formula on a daily basis, and also have no problem adding in solids before many of my fellow APers would find appropriate…). I cloth diaper part time, but truthfully, I’m kind of lazy. I do everything I can to keep the boys from crying (though as other twin parents know, it’s just impossible sometimes). I am a mother, and I take this job quite seriously (though I am honestly surprised to hear myself say that).
I agree so wholeheartedly with the many recommendations I got from you awesome readers that I seek out more experienced parents to talk to. I think the issue I run in to a lot of times is that I’m in this kind of in-between place. I can’t say I know too many twin mamas who espouse attachment ideals, and rightfully so, since it’s really hard to do with twins, and everything (evv. ree. thing.) is different when there’s two. And because everything’s different with two, I can’t fully practice attachment parenting because it’s just not practical, so I often find myself at odds with some of the other APers I’ve talked to, because I just don’t care enough to battle the unending laundry pile by adding diapers to the mix and I love wearing my babies, but going out really only works in the double stroller, and I hate letting them cry, but sometimes you have to let one fuss a bit while you check the other for brain injury because he’s just launched himself head-first off the bed during the ten seconds you were looking away and cooing at his brother*.
I don’t know exactly what I’m going to find, but I finally joined the local moms discussion board, and added myself to the infertility and multiples and attachment parent groups in hopes that among these, I may eventually find one or two whose lifestyles intersect with mine, and hopefully find one or two who are a bit further along this path than I am that might be able to offer advice.
So thank you all for the suggestions and for continuing to read in spite of my lack of anything interesting to say. I really need to hear (read, whatever) that I’m not the only one with (nearly-)five month olds who don’t sleep through the night. So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We had our four month check up this week, and the boys are growing beautifully. They are long skinny things (Jack, especially), though they look just as chubby as they should, I think.
Their percentiles are probably a little off because they’re almost five months old at this point, but basically, they’re growing well enough, and their proportions are about the same. The doctor did say that if we wanted them to sleep through the night, we needed to quit feeding them at night, and that developmentally, they should be more than capable of going 6 hours without eating (there’s more of that pressure…), and that they simply wouldn’t stop waking up to eat until they learned that there wouldn’t be any food coming when they woke up. He did sort of allude to the fact that we could go cold turkey and it would suck, but that they would naturally give it up in the next month or so (which made me laugh, knowing how many people I know whose children still nurse through the night MUCH beyond the six month mark). Anyhow, I know he was just trying to comfort us or give us options, but having had your awesome comments on the last post in my brain’s back pocket, I felt much more confident in just knowing that our boys aren’t there yet, and that it’s not that big of a deal and therefore, I’m just not all that concerned that they aren’t yet sleeping through the night, and probably won’t for some time to come.
And walking away with that kind of confidence, knowing that my babies are pretty much normal (even if they could be ready, that they aren’t is normal), is a really good feeling, and one that I might not have had if I hadn’t had your stories to support me.
So. Thank you, and all that jazz.
How was your week? Any grand plans for the weekend? Anyone got any great Turkey Day plans?
*um, so here’s the story: Yesterday, while chatting on Facebook, getting some REALLY GREAT NEWS from someone (you know who you are), I was so excited and engrossed in the conversation, and at making faces at Henry to get him to quit grumping, that I didn’t notice that Jack had scooted himself right up to the edge of the bed, and (being the monkey-curl-up-toe-chewer that he has become) pushed himself off the edge of the bed, which I didn’t even notice, until he waaaaaaaailed. I (of course) immediately snatched him up, and he cried hysterically for about 2 minutes (which scared the crap out of me). But as he started to wind down a bit, I laid him on the bed so I could make sure his arms and legs were working correctly and that his head was intact and that there was no blood, etc., and he started laughing at me, so, finding no injury, I assumed he was okay. I called the nurse triage line and answered their questions, and we determined that he was truly okay and didn’t need to be seen. He’s got a small knot on his head, but otherwise, he’s fine now. So yeah. I didn’t win any parenting awards yesterday, but overall, no big deal.
We’ve been putting the boys to bed at night in the center of our bed, since that is where they will ultimately end up, but due to Jack’s roly-poly proclivities, it’d be REALLY great if we could get him to go to sleep in his crib for that first stretch of sleep, so that I’m not checking him every five seconds to make sure he hasn’t woken up and scooted himself close to danger. They go to bed earlier than I do (though I’ve been going to bed shortly after them for much of this week because they’ve been trading off nights when they protest bedtime, so it’s just easier that I lay down with them and sleep, since I’m kinda tired anyway. Unfortunately, this has been a major cause of lack of commenting, since I do most of my responding at night when I don’t have two babies on my lap), so I really need to work it so that they keep going to bed at the same time, but so that I don’t have to worry about their immediate safety.
**It’s not that I have any problem nursing them to sleep– I LOVE nursing them to sleep– but it’s gotten to the point that they wake up when I take the nipple out of their mouth, and wake again (at least Henry…) over and over again throughout the night, trying to nurse, because that’s how they want to sleep. So, I don’t need to break the nurse to sleep habit, I need to break the “I must have a human nipple in my mouth at all times to sleep” habit. Henry did okay taking a pacifier or Papa’s thumb last night for a while, but I still nursed him back to sleep three or four times, which wouldn’t be a big deal at all, except that when I nurse Henry, because I nurse in bed, I have to either contort myself around Jack (which inevitably disturbs him, so wakes him up, so doesn’t work) or move Jack (which straight up doesn’t work, because he wakes up) OR just wake Jack up and include him in the nursing party (which is what I usually do, but not what I really should be doing, because plenty of times after nursing Jack, he has an overflow barf– not spit up, but just a rejection of the last several swallows of milk because his stomach is still totally full). So, I’m unnecessarily waking Jack up because Henry won’t go back to sleep without nursing. I’d like to switch it up so that Jack sleeps with Papa, and I can just nurse Henry without getting up, but Jack won’t sleep with Papa. So… therein lies the conundrum. No need to quit nursing to sleep, but it’d be great if there were something that Papa could do, besides getting up and rocking him for 20-30 minutes, or something that I could do without waking Jack, so that we could all get a bit more uninterrupted sleep. I don’t have issue with getting up a few times a night, I’d just like to stop the wakings every hour or two, and move towards every 2-3 hours…