Fail, Fail, Fail

Yeah. I’ve been working on the Seven Month update in snips and snaps for the last week, and it’s just not happening yet. It’s mostly because my children don’t sleep. They now nap in a Not-On-Me position (HALLELUJAH), but this past week, they’ve been refusing to settle in to any sort of reasonable schedule. Thirty minutes in the morning, ten minutes the second the car starts moving, an hour in the afternoon. My favorite this past week was when I was so desperate for a nap with them, and I successfully got them down to sleep next to me TWICE in the course of a two-hour time frame, and TWICE they woke up the second (literally, the. exact. second.) my head hit the pillow next to them. Only a sleep-deprived parent could understand the cruelty that sort of behavior exhibits. I’d sell my kidney for a half-hour nap, and I’ve just gotten you to sleep, AGAIN, and you tease me, sleeping sweetly, lulling me into false security, waiting until I’ve gently stretched out, tucked my feet under a blanket, squished the pillow into just the right shape, closed my aching eyes and laid my heavy head down– BOING! AWAKE! WE ARE AWAKE! AWAKE IS FUN!

Sigh.

We’ve been trying something new this week after discovering that Henry would sleep perfectly for hours and hours and hours as long as he was directly next to me. So, I kicked H out of the bed (well, he practically jumped at the chance to sleep somewhere by himself, even if that ‘somewhere’ is a mattress on our floor…), and have been attempting to go it alone co-sleeping with the boys. Whee!

This would be when we discovered that the reason Jack sleeps so beautifully is that he’s had my undivided attention all night long for the last… well, his whole life, I guess. And now that I’m trying to sleep in such a way that I am directly next to both of them, I cannot focus just on Jack all night which has resulted in him waking every hour or two wanting to nurse, even if he’s so clearly not hungry, screaming the second I remove my sucked-raw nipple from his mouth. This has resulted in me pretty much not sleeping.

There’s a reason it’s damn near impossible to find other twin parents who co-sleep.

Anyway, we’re giving it another couple of nights to see if we can work it out somehow, and then… sheesh. I don’t know what we’ll do. I guess we’ll try the next configuration. It would be ever-so-peachy if these boys would just sleep maybe 6 inches away from my body so that I could at least turn over in my (fake) sleep, rather than laying like a plank between them. Actually, it would be great if they would sleep in a sidecarred crib, but so far, neither boy is the slightest bit interested in that (by which I mean they both scream like they’re being fricasseed the second the fact that they are outside of the Official Bed Perimeter hits their wee tiny conscious brains…).

As I go through these motions, I begin to wonder if I’m a little crazy. I mean, I’m going to some pretty ridiculous lengths to be as gentle as I possibly can with these guys, and I have no intention of just suddenly dumping them in a crib and walking away, but I have to wonder what this must look like to an outsider. If I overheard myself talking about this situation, would I think, “Poor woman needs to get a grip and kick those babies out of her bed!”? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s easy to have all the answers when it’s not your life in question.

I think I need to repeat that:
It’s easy to have all the answers when it’s not YOUR life that’s in question. (Take that, you nosy assholes who ask with a twinkle in your eye whether or not I’m getting any sleep yet. Screw you. You either want to gloat over the fact that you have survived that circle of hell with your own children while I’m still stuck there, or you want to pretend that you give two shits about the non-event of my nights with babies who sleep through [were that the case]– or worse, you want to pat yourself on the back for only having one baby at a time so that you don’t have to deal with the insanity of twin parenting, make yourself feel better that, Christ, at least I didn’t have it as bad as that poor sad sack does… Quit. Asking. That. Question. There is no good reason to ask it.)

So. Henry proves to be a champ sleeper when given a molecule of his mother’s nighttime attention. Jack proves to be an attention-glutton who will not share a molecule of his mother’s nighttime attention, even while asleep.

Rule #1 of twin parenting: There will never be enough of you to go around, and the sooner you learn to forgive yourself of this fact, the better.

Sigh.

Anyway, aside from their sleep issues, I have issues of my own. I am an insomniac. I’ve been in denial of that fact for a long time, I think. Reading back over old blog posts as I work to edit out the privacy-busting items, I was struck by how often I described being tired from lack of sleep, or waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep. It got bad during my pregnancy, and it’s never really gone back down to it’s previous (almost, but not really) manageable levels. It really sucks to be so tired and not be able to sleep. Of course, compounding the usual anxiety/whatever driven insomnia is the insomnia due to the fact that my back hurts if I lay on my back for too long (though it just hurts generally, too– laying on my back doesn’t help matters at all), my shoulders hurt, my muscles ache, my hips hurt if I lay on my side for too long. No wonder I can’t sleep. The boys wake me up and it shouldn’t be that big of a deal to comfort them back to sleep and then go to sleep myself, but all of this everything is has built itself into a very sleepy situation for me. I spent last night laying between the boys, listening to everyone else in the room softly breathing, in, out, in, out, while I stared at the ceiling. Ugh.

It will pass. One way or another, it will pass.

Meanwhile, life outside the bedroom goes on. I wish I had more to say about our holidays, but really, it was all just fine. There are more details, and I owe it to myself and my boys to document their first Christmas and their first trip back home to Texas, and their first meeting with Opa and Oma G., but now is not the time to do that. Now is the time to wrap up this “quick” thousand words and try to catch some sleep while the boys are sleeping.

Someone tell me that infancy is survivable, please. Someone tell me that twin infancy is survivable, please…

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10 Responses to Fail, Fail, Fail

  1. PJ says:

    I have been a horrible blogger lately. I can’t even remember when my last post was, right before Christmas probably. No twin pics with teddy in months… What can I say, life is busy!

    I’m learning that everyone does things differently with regards to child rearing, and really just “is what it is”. Everyone has opinions, and you know what opinions are like! I don’t think there’s a “wrong” way to do things, unless perhaps the child is in danger. And clearly your boys are loved and cuddled and happy!!!

    That said, I wish you rest and sleep and everything that is NON-insomnia-like, my friend!

  2. Sue says:

    Eventually you’ll get more sleep, but I know how hard it is when you’re in the trenches, NOT sleeping. Although I’m not going to give you any sleep training assvice, I will say that sometimes it’s really for the best to listen to an outside opinion. When you’re as tired as you are, you’ll do whatever it takes to survive, and it’s hard to see an alternate way, or believe an alternate way could possibly work for you. After 7 blissful months of my child sleeping through the night, we’ve now hit some toddler sleep disruptions that I’m finding particularly challenging, and even though I have a good sense of what I should probably do, most of the time I don’t do it because I’m just too exhausted. Hang in there. This will eventually pass, but then it will just be something else (hopefully not sleep related though).

  3. jenn says:

    everyone has their own way of parenting (and living their own life for that matter) and as long as you aren’t harming or endangering anyone (which you aren’t) who the hell cares! sleep issues suck- plain & simple. except their is no plain & simple about how your family deals with them. what worked for me may make matters worse for you & the only way ~you~ can resolve them is for ~you~ to do what feels right & keeps the family happy!

    that said- pumpkin hit the wake to nurse (or as the hub called it ‘comfort boob’) period quite early. after co-sleeping had worked beautifully for us for the first 14 weeks she suddenly was waking up reaching for the boob every hour with no growth spurt in site. out of desperation after a week or two of this we put her in her room & just kept getting up with her in there. since she could smell me next to her it was kind of like sleeping next to a big ole plate of chocolate donuts or delicious cookies- it’s too close to not have some! after another week or two we noticed the wakeups dropped off to only 2 per night (until 9 months or so- can’t remember now!) to just one on most nights until she was one. Now- this is obviously with one, so like i said- not suggesting this will work for you or is even feasible! but it did eventually get so much better. you reach a new ‘normal’ that you can live with & then things change again. it is unfortunately constant, but i know that eventually the boys will sleep through the night. i hope for your sake it happens before they turn one, but it ~will~ happen someday. and until then just keep trying what you can & someday your own magic formula will happen too.

    good luck & i am wishing a very nice & restful night/nap upon you! Any chance that H could take over a night on a weekend or take the boys out somewhere so you can just veg?

  4. lz says:

    love, do understand the insomnia bit… especially when I’m woken up by ambulances flying past my house at 3 am. I love the city life, but it is no bueno for sleep sometimes when you tend towards insomnia anyway.

    I don’t have any advice on what to do with the boys and sleep – you will find a solution, and I know you will do what is best for your boys – do remember though, that motherhood can’t be martyrdom and what is best for your sons is also for their mother to take care of herself too. If it’s too much, you and H have to find a way for you to get a break, even if it’s a massage or something for an hour away to relax. Has H been able to sit with them for twenty minutes so that you could go on a run? Maybe a run every other day would help with your insomnia, and maybe there could be a way to work that into the day somehow.

    And, yes, infancy is survivable – I have friends who have children past infancy and they seemed to come out wiser and with a better sense of humor. I see people with twins past infancy pretty often, and the parents look like they’ve slept, so twin infancy must also be survivable as well.

  5. Katherine says:

    Okay, I wasn’t sure if you were asking for actual, what the hell do I do, advice. With your permission, I could post your question to my online mom group. There are over 2000 moms on the list. I know there is a good cosleeping contigency as well as a good number of moms with twins. So, hopefully there is an overlap and some mom’s with twins who cosleep might be able to give you some in the trenches advice.

    Dude, I have always had weird sleep patterns. One weird thing I noticed, if I don’t get enough outdoor time, it is harder for me to sleep at night. So odd. The worst period of insomnia I ever had was when my son finally started sleeping at night. I would still wake up after 2 hours of sleep and would stay awake. I think it took me a few weeks, maybe a month before I could sleep through the night. Man, I was pissed off. The baby slept, my husband slept and I would wander around the house. Ugh.

  6. Tara (TIMO) says:

    Twin mama, check. Co-sleeping, check. Though it sounds like we never had it quite as rough as you’re having it right now. You will get through this period. It does get better.

    I’m working on a post updating our sleep issues. We revamped our entire routine and it’s *knock on wood* working pretty well. Alex is sleeping through the night in his crib the majority of the time. He still has some rough nights but for the most part is a good sleeper. He naps ~2.5h per day. But Benjamin still co-sleeps and gets up multiple times. He also naps only 30m (plus or minus 10m) per day. He’s just a poor and light sleeper. He usually goes down for his nap first and then it takes me 15-20m to get Alex down so some days I get 10-20m me time before Benjamin is awake. It sucks but there’s not much I can do about it so it seems.

    They’ll be 15m on Friday. We’ll get another lecture from the doctor about why he needs to be sleeping through and in his own bed. But we’ll say we’re going to do it and then we won’t. It’s just not right for him or for us.

    Also, insomnia, check. I’ve never been a great sleeper either. Benjamin is my mini-me. You’ll get through this also.

  7. Tracy says:

    It IS survivable. Think of all the other twin parents that have made it. And let me tell you, it DOES get better. SOON. I know that you and I approached this whole sleep thing a bit differently, so I won’t even bother dispensing advise (especially since you didn’t ask for it), but I do believe that the sooner the twins learn that there isn’t always enough of mommy to go around (to their satisfaction, anyway), the better. All I know for sure is that MY twins are VERY patient as a result. 🙂

    Sleep deprivation is the worst. I remember the days when I would have given my left tit for just four straight hours of sleep. I also battled with insomnia in the first year, which seemed a cruel irony…I want sleep desperately, yet I can’t, even when given the chance? Antidepressants helped. So did Melatonin, though I wouldn’t recommend that until you feel like you’ll get longer stretches with the boys.

    Hang in there, girl.

  8. Tracy says:

    p.s. I should warn you, that though it is NEVER as bad as it is in the first nine months, we have found that the kids still go through these funky cycles where they don’t nap, or wake frequently in the night, or otherwise torment us. They are just phases, only made worse by the fact that there are two of them.

  9. Yes, it will pass. However, when it does pass, you won’t understand *why* or *what you did differently* just that they were ready to sleep, finally. Here’s hoping that time comes soon for you.

  10. Ellen K. says:

    Rule #1 is absolutely right. You can’t be constantly apologizing to your twins. I know mothers of more than 1 child feel pulled in different directions, but nothing can compare to this worry in a first-time mother of multiples.

    You WILL survive. This year is very, very hard. I would not go through it again for anything. I cry when I even think about it. But it gets better. It gets so, SO much better.

    Really, it does. For me it got better when I. dropped the morning nap and I was able to push N. toward a mid-day nap, too. Suddenly they were napping at the same time and I had more than 10 minutes to myself.

    Re: sleep, I’m just reiterating what others have said: something changes around 7-8 months. I & N suddenly stopped STTN at this point, and I realized that their naps were really short (30 min in the morning, maybe 1 hr in the afternoon — lots of car rides and stroller walks with gritted teeth). I started reading the sleep books. And I started thinking that I was a bad mom because I couldn’t get them to sleep properly — that this was my main job — and this had a LOT to do with my PPD. So all I can say is what everyone told me then, and to which I never listened: Your babies are thriving. Look at how happy they are. YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT.

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