1 Year Update – Oona and Beatrix

We made it!

The girls turned one on May 23rd.  Throughout the day, I couldn’t help but glance at the clock and remember…

7:00 – “This is when we were calling the hospital to see if there was a room for us!”

9:00 – “This is when they broke my water!”

11:00 – “This is when we ate brunch”

13:00 – “This is when I was singing through contractions”

16: 58 – “Oona!”

17:09 – “Beatrix!”

It’s hard to believe how far babies come in the first year.  Those tiny, helpless, beautiful creatures grow into their skin and blossom into these amazing human beings you see sat right in front of you (and then don’t see because they have crawled off quicker than you can blink).

When I lounged, a beached whale in the corner of the couch, I couldn’t help being anxious about having twins.  Handling two newborns at once was overwhelming, much less thinking about two teething babies, two mobile babies, two everything.  The truth is that the first year, though incredibly hard at times, was actually not as overwhelming as I had made it out to be in my head.  Granted, this is more a result of how disastrous my expectations were, rather than how easy it is to have twins, but still.

Tromping up and down a few flights of stairs to the parking garage with a baby in each carseat tucked under my arms was something I wasn’t sure I would be able to do, but I did, and now, suddenly, that phase is over, and the girls are too big for their infant carseats, and I’ve moved on to one in a carrier, and the other on my hip, and suddenly I have a free hand, and it is (extraordinarily) easier.

People have recently been asking more often if things are easier–every time I mention the girls just turned a year old.  The honest answer is: not really.  We got off to an exceptional start, with babies who slept and ate well, and Andreas having three months of paternity leave, and my sister coming to visit for a month.  Some things are easier, but my days are busier, the work is harder, and I’m alone in doing it.  I’m also often asked if they are “easy”, and this question is also hard to answer honestly.  If I think about it, they are generally “easy” babies.  They are good at entertaining themselves (and each other).  They eat SO well–anything and everything, and they sleep well for the most part.  But having twins is inherently not easy, so I feel like I am giving the wrong impression simply smiling and nodding.  So what do I say? “They’re great!”  (True) “They are so fun at this age!” (True) “This is beyond exhausting and super overwhelming!” (Also True)

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But back to that “They are so fun at this age!” That one is definitely true (when they are not teething molars).  The level of silliness in our home has increased drastically lately.  Oona has developed a supremely entertaining false-laugh-between-her-teeth, and Beatrix has learned to growl, and the contrast between her gravelly growl and her sweet cherub face is impossible not to chuckle at.

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Both Beatrix and Oona are finally crawling “properly” which is, in my opinion, one of the most adorable things that babies do.  They have also both learned to climb onto the couch, and are tall enough to reach tables, so we have very few places left to put things that we would like to keep out of their chubby little hands.

Like I mentioned before, the girls eat pretty much everything we put in front of them.  Favorite foods are probably waffles, enchiladas, lasagna, tomatoes (Beatrix), and corn (Oona).  We keep forgetting to give them utensils to practice with, but they definitely enjoy when they do get to try a fork or spoon.  Their birthday cake was, obviously, a big hit.

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Sleeping-wise, they are still on two naps, but I am trying to see if we can’t transition to one.  Personally, I prefer the two-nap schedule, but both girls were waking up between 5-5:45 for *months* and then recently started to have trouble going to sleep as well.  I’m slowly pushing the morning nap later and later, and squeezing in a small afternoon nap to tide them over while we are in transition, and it seems to be going well so far.

I’m still nursing about 4 times a day (morning, night, and before each nap).  I’ve been moving nursing a little earlier for a while, so they don’t directly associate it with falling asleep, so that it will be easier to wean when the time comes, but I don’t mind nursing for naps for a few more months, and then morning and night until they don’t feel like it anymore.  Theo dropped his daytime feedings around a year old, and the rest by 18 months (I think), so I’m not pushing anything.

I feel like Theo deserves a mention here for being the BEST big brother there ever was.  Seriously.  He has never once, in the whole year, spoken a bad word about his sisters.  His patience is never-ending, and (thankfully) he sleeps through any and all screaming, so that’s a plus.  He has done so much better with this transition than anyone else in the family, and I could not be more proud.

So we have passed the one-year milestone.  I’m allowing myself a pat on the back, two high fives, and a victory lap.

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10-month Update – Oona and Beatrix

Only a couple weeks late, here comes month ten!

Looking back on last month, I realized that not as much has actually changed in the last month.  As far as eating goes, we’re still nursing 4x a day, and having four meals of solids–more finger foods, fewer purees, and they are usually eating some version of what we are eating for dinner.

I have a strong suspicion that the girls are in the middle of some developmental leap, because at the moment, but funnily enough they are handling it very differently.  They are both NEEDING MAMA with all caps right now.  Luckily(?) for me, they are needing me at different times.  Trixie wakes up multiple times a night, and needs Mama cuddles.  Andreas tries to go down, but she strangely enough doesn’t calm down for anyone but me right now.  This has never happened before, so it’s weird for me!  If I sit with her in the armchair, she will calm down immediately, and fall asleep on me, and I can put her down after a few minutes, and she’ll be good for a while.  I can also sometimes get away with holding her hand through the bars of her crib.  It’s mostly a few times in the evening, before I go to sleep that she wakes up, so I have decided that for now, I’ll give her the cuddles she needs while she goes through whatever this is.  During the day, she is content, happy, and mischievous.

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Oona, in contrast, sleeps every night all night without a peep.  However, the daytime is a different story.  Every moment that Mama is not carrying her around is a moment wasted, and especially in the mornings, she will literally just scream whenever I put her down for a moment.  Considering that I have to get all three kids ready and out the door to drop off Theo, mornings are quite hard right now.  The rest of the day, I try to just be more present with the girls and accept the fact that I don’t get as much done around the house at the moment.

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Both girls have the most charming grins–Oona did hers first, but stopped just as Trix started.  Beatrix especially could win over any heart with her cheese-grin (earning her the nickname GrinGrin).  She’s stopped doing it now, but Oona has started again with her nose-wrinkling smile, so it looks like I’ll never get a picture of them both doing it at the same time!

The fighting over toys has only intensified in the last month, and now, if one of the girls has something exciting and sees her sister scooting over, she is VERY quick to turn around and hold whatever it is she covets out of her sister’s reach.

They are also slowly but steadily progressing physically.  They will both pull up on their knees, and Oona has sat herself up a few times.  I am still not sure if they will crawl properly on hands and knees, or skip that step, but they have been getting up on their knees a little more, so maybe they will crawl after all!  For now, they are happy to glide along on their bellies.

Andreas is leaving for all of next week for a conference in San Fransisco, but honestly I have mostly been trying not to think about it much.  The way things are going, it is going to be an exceptionally challenging week–especially considering that I still have a cracked rib from the pneumonia, so a lot of things are painful–putting unwilling babies into high chairs, though, is by far the winner…followed closely by wrestling babies into diapers and carrying two babies in carseats.  Wish me luck!

9-month Update – Oona and Beatrix

Month nine has been nice one.

Things felt like they were moving in a nice rhythm–sleeping, eating, and playing.  I fell into an early-February slump, and the repetitive nature of the days and weeks drove me slightly crazy.  Outings with my mom-group were helpful, and honestly, if the biggest complaint I had was boredom, I was doing alright.  Since then, Andreas took a short business trip, and I developed pneumonia, and a bad cold on top of it, so I wouldn’t mind returning to the boredom!

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Beatrix and Oona are both freely roaming the house, not crawling on hands and knees yet, but pretty efficient with their army crawl all the same.  Where one baby girl goes, the other will soon follow.  We are entering a phase in life where Theo is ready for toys with tiny pieces, and the girls are quite eager to swallow as many of those tiny pieces as possible.

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Sleeping has been going fairly well.  Sometimes the girls sleep through, when they do wake up, it often lasts a long time.  Naps are good–pretty predictably between an hour and an hour and a half, twice a day.

Eating is more or less the same as last month.  Both girls love eating, and are happy with purees as well as finger foods–the more food the better, they say!  I still nurse them each four times a day–on waking up in the morning and before they sleep each time.

Oona and Beatrix have been noticing each other more lately, smiling, pulling at, and crawling on top of each other.  Although the eye-gouging, toy-stealing, rough-and-tumble phase has begun, I try to focus on the sweet moments.  They are doing this thing lately, where they bonk their foreheads gently together, repeatedly, as a way of greeting, and I simply can’t get over it.

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Just yesterday, Oona started waving and clapping, within a time period of about 30 seconds, and she is so excited about her new trick.  I truly love this age, but as I have said since the beginning this time around, time is going way. too. quickly.  I am already missing my tiny babies, mourning every moment I miss in the chaos of our everyday life.

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I’ll just do my best to enjoy every slightly-wicked grin and forget every moment of rushing to make lunch while two babies scream at me.

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8-month Update – Oona and Beatrix

Yet another update on our twin girls!

In the last update, I mentioned how poorly they had been sleeping (for months).  In early January, I decided one night to night wean, cold turkey.  The girls were eating twice a night (but waking FAR more often), and they were never hungry in the morning.  When I was trying to give a 10 pm feeding, Beatrix was more playing than eating, and Oona bit me as soon as she latched on, and in that moment, I had had enough!  No more!  They clearly were not hungry throughout the night, and I was quite sleep deprived at this point.  The first night, both girls cried a good bit.  We were there for them in any other ways, but I did not nurse them.  The next night, I slept upstairs while Andreas took nighttime duty, and one of the babies slept through, while the other woke once.  By the fourth night, the babies had both slept through the night.

So for us, night weaning was clearly magical.  The girls don’t sleep through every night (we have multiple teeth trying to come into their tiny mouths) but because my boobs are no longer part of the equation, we can take shifts (10-2 and 2-6) which means that there is always the possibility of a good chunk of sleep for each of us, and things are so much better than they were a month ago.  Naps are also pretty great.  We’re on the tail end of transitioning to two naps per day, which works pretty well for our schedule.

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The girls are also doing really well with solids.  They have three to four meals a day–usually some puree or porridge, and then finger foods on the side.  The only things I’ve really noticed a reaction to are broccoli and zucchini, so those are temporarily off the table (literally!) but otherwise they are doing really well with their variety of foods.

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At eight months, Oona had started scooting to reach things nearby.  Both girls had been rolling both directions for a while, and Bea was starting to sit unassisted. They are the very last babies in my mom-group to be doing these things, and I was just teetering on the verge of being a little worried, but I no longer am.  I know babies do things at their own pace–it’s just so hard not to get a little wrapped up in it!

Their personalities are really shining through, and they are two very different little girls!  Beatrix is quite tempermental in general, with not very much patience, and clear favorites as far as toys go.  Oona is a little more easy going, but when she is mad, she is MAD.  She has also been more content lately because she is more free to go get what she wants, whereas Bea can’t quite, so she is rather frustrated.  Oona smiles more easily, but when you can get one from Bea, her whole face lights up at you, and it’s really priceless.

They often reach out for the other, especially when they are sitting in their high chairs, and food and toys are inevitably stolen and traded.  Their interaction is still somewhat limited at this point, they don’t really smile and laugh to/at each other.

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Both of them like to use one finger to examine things, and when I mentioned that to my mom, she laughed, saying I did the same thing as a little kid.

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I’m so looking forward to what the next few months will bring, but also a little bit apprehensive about two mobile babies!!

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2017 Year in Review

January—January stands out as the Month of Stress.  Still reeling from the news of the twins, I staggered into January—a month of long hours and high stress at work.  I worked overtime nearly every day for weeks, as my boss prepared for her maternity leave, and we prepped and delivered material for two separate audits and closed out the year 2016 in the accounting department.  I pulled through it while struggling through the aches and pains of pregnancy that came early on as I started to get bigger. The thought of a week-long vacation in the beginning of February got me through. Theo gave up his pacifiers (favis), and took a leap into Big Boyship with a bike with pedals.

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February—We had a nice, cozy, much-needed week at home to start the month.  Then I toppled back into work, scurrying to train my replacement, construct as many tutorials as possible, and haul my ever-growing belly up to the hospital at least once a week for some type of scan.  Knowing my sick-leave was imminent was sometimes the only thing that got me through the long days.  Every night as I put up my feet for an hour after picking up Theo, I had a marathon of Braxton-Hicks as my body not-so-subtly asked me to slow the eff down. We had a really nice Ayyam-i-Ha at the end of the month, despite the fact that I didn’t have much energy to put into it.

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March—I went on sick-leave in mid-March, and thank goodness!  The relief was amazing, but even after leaving, I experienced extreme anxiety for a couple of weeks.  By the end of March, I was finally able to relax and enjoy my leave. By March, I was already huge!

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April—In April we were finally able to start really preparing for the twins’ arrival, which was a load off of my shoulders (if not my pelvis).  We purchased our car (which we then realized would only be delivered after the girls’ arrival).  I very much enjoyed my freedom, but at the same time started to feel more and more limited in what I could physically accomplish every day.

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May—The twins were born!  May passed in a blur of waiting.  Even though I was 95% sure I would make it to my induction date, I held out faint hope that I might go into labor on my own.    By the end of May, we were all home again, ready to greet the summer.

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June—June passed in a newborn haze.  We picked up our car (exciting!) and took our first little trip to visit Andreas’s parents where the babies started sleeping amazingly well at just 5 weeks old. (Go babies!)  I also started learning to drive the car (manual gearshift).

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July—My sister arrived in the beginning of July, and stayed for most of it. It was amazing!  We played lots of games, went on some really nice outings, and in general, it was just nice with the extra hands and extra company.

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August—Andreas’s last month of paternity leave was when we got a lot of s**t done.  We ran errands like never before, and tried to squeeze in last minute visits and outings.  It went so quickly, but the girls continued to sleep well, so I was nothing but grateful.  I practiced enough with driving that I was able to go out alone—important to master before I was on my own! Theo turned four, and it was so fun to see him excited about his birthday!

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September—This is the month that I started really feeling like a Twin Mom.  Andreas started back at work, so I was on my own with the girls during the week, and it was WORK.  I also started getting together with my mom group, which was really wonderful, and I felt so proud of myself for being independent and being able to handle all of the kids on my own.  The girls, however, started waking more at night.

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October—Naptime sleep is so frustrating at this point that we do some sleep-training, with some success.  This month was really challenging, as I struggled to get any time during the day to either relax, or get anything done.  I definitely started burning out.  Halloween was fun, though!

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November—In the beginning of November, we decided to go for it, and plan a trip to the US!  I spent a few frenzied weeks preparing, and we left in time to get home to my parents’ for Thanksgiving.  The trip went great (better than expected, for the most part), and sleep continued to go downhill.

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December—We arrived back in Denmark in early December, and after a few days of adding vaccinations and jet lag onto teething and a cough, I was at my wit’s end.  We did a gentle method of sleep training this time, and while much slower, it seems to have helped, so there is hope for 2018.  We spent a lovely, quiet Christmas with my in-laws, and I have had the biggest urge to purge, so whenever I can get away for a few minutes, I try to clean out another little part of the house, and add some stuff to the pile-of-things-to-get-out-of-our-home.

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2017 was a wonderful mix of successes and struggles, and to be 100% honest, it was a much better and easier year than I expected.  And who knows?  Maybe all of my anxieties about 2018 (including, but not limited to starting my job again, and whether or not I’ll be able to go down to part time or not) will be as unfounded as my anxieties about 2017 (that having twins would be so difficult and unbelievably overwhelming that I would close to not survive it).

So, no New Year’s resolutions for me this year, only continuing to get a handle on my anxiety, and to practice taking the time, and silence, that I need to stay sane.

Cheers!

6- and 7-month Update – Oona and Beatrix

It was bound to happen eventually—I missed one.  So much has happened these last two months with the girls, and with us, that I am not really surprised.

Months six and seven brought eight teeth (four for each), lots more eating, the twins’ first plane rides, and more movin’ and shakin’.  What it did not bring is more sleep (sad face).

Four days before the girls turned six months, we took our first trip to the US with all three kids.  Whew. The trip happened rather spontaneously, as we realized ticket prices were as reasonable now as they were for February or April, so we took off to spend my favorite holiday—Thanksgiving!—with my family.

The babies did really well on the flights, but more about that in a different post.

I was a bit worried that the girls would have stranger anxiety just in time for our big trip, but it hasn’t showed up yet!  Both Bea and Oona loved seeing all the new people, and they greet everyone—family and strangers alike—with matching smiles and big, beaming, blue eyes!  On the way over, jet lag was almost non-existent.  After a couple of early mornings, they seemed to be pretty adjusted.  Over the three weeks, though, sleep got progressively worse, as Oona woke up multiple times a night to eat, and Bea woke up for her favi (pacifier).  I was getting pretty worn down, but decided to just carry on while we were on vacation, and worry about it when we got back home.  And worry about it, I did.  Jet lag going East is always worse for me, and it took the girls a while to get over.  Add in some hardcore teething, a little cold, and their five-month vaccinations (only a month and a half late…), and sleep has been hard to come by.  It was normal to be up 25 times during the night for a while after we returned.

I am trying a no-cry sleep solution, although there is definitely still crying involved, because even while we comfort them, they still cry.  There has been some success, especially with Oona, but it is hard to notice, when you’re still up 10+ times at night.  We recently decided to have Bea sleep without her favi, as she wakes so often to get it back.  So far the first night went well, but we have learned to reign in our optimism.  I am hoping that when I write the next update, I will come bearing good, sleepy news!

On the eating front, the girls are doing well!  Bea has been eating more than Oona for the past two months, gobbling anything we give her.  Recently, they have learned to sit up better, and are starting some finger foods in addition to purees/porridges.  Bea also apparently thinks she is very grown up, and does not need to nurse anymore, which can be frustrating.  And what is even more frustrating is that they have both been biting me (now with four teeth each) for months!  This, added to the fact that even getting Bea to nurse is a struggle, makes me wonder how much longer our breastfeeding relationship will last.  However, I do remember this phase with Theo (a nursing “strike”, eating lots of solids, and biting), and we did come out the other side, although I don’t think he nursed as much as other babies his age afterwards.  I have been pumping sometimes, and I will use my breastmilk to make their cereals and mix with their purees in hopes of getting some more of the good stuff in them.

As far as moving goes, both girls are rolling both directions (Bea first, then Oona), and turning in a circle to get toys.  Oona has started to try to scoot, but only goes backwards, which, as you can imagine, is extremely frustrating as she gets farther and farther away from the object of her desire.  Neither are sitting on their own yet, but with the blow-up pillow in the IKEA high chair, they can sit very well, so we’re moving to those instead of the Stokke Newborn chairs that we have been using since they were very small.

Through teething, jet lag, and developmental leaps, it can feel like at least one baby is always grumpy, but that’s just the nature of having twins (or so I assume).  There are also shining moments of overwhelming amazement and joy that these two perfect, adorable beings are loaned to me.  Even a year after we first got the news of ”twins”, I still look over at Andreas occasionally and just say ”I can’t believe there are two…TWO!”

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Happy Anniversary, Denmark!

This month marks my fifth anniversary of my move to Denmark!  The last five years have been filled with unimaginable change, growth, and setbacks.  I have been at the end of my rope, my wit’s end, and on cloud nine.

Adapting to life in a new country is hard, no matter how committed or prepared one is.  And I have had my challenges.  I survived a lonely first couple of years, being pregnant and then having baby Theo, while finishing up Danish classes, and becoming fluent.  I drudged through unemployment, and every single frustration and insecurity that goes with it.  I started some classes for an associate’s degree, and totally crushed it–I was more proud of my perfect scores, and praise from my professors on my oral exams (taken in Danish) than I was when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree.  I landed an internship, and struggled through the first six months of it (while being pregnant with TWINS) before my maternity leave, and where I am now.

When I think about those first few months, compared to my life now, I have to admit I am really, really proud of myself.  When we first arrived, I could not leave my apartment without Andreas.  I couldn’t go to the store by myself.  After a couple of months, I managed to use public transport alone, to get to my Danish class (whilst sweating profusely).  I clearly remember calling my doctor to make that first appointment for my pregnancy with Theo–sitting on the edge of the bed, shaking, speaking Danish on the phone for the first time.

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Right there, facing the window, was where I made the call

Every day that I have been here, I have pushed my limits.  I have been on a roller coaster of highs (“I am so awesome for doing these things that are hard!”) and lows (“Oh my God, I can’t do these things that are hard anymore…not even one more time.”).

On Friday, I had a busy day.  I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I packed up the girls, drove to the doctor, and had my appointment.  Afterwards, I got a call from the police station saying that my temporary visa was ready to be picked up, so I buckled the girls into the car, and drove 20 minutes (on the highway for the first time) in our van (with manual gearshift), parked, picked up my visa, and drove home, picked up Theo, and went home.  Feeling lazy on a Friday evening, we decided we’d pick up frozen pizza for dinner, so once Andreas came home, I took Theo to the store to grab some, and back home for dinner, bedtime with the kids, and cozy time with Andreas.

For some, this does not sound like a big deal.  For me, it was a huge deal.  My anxiety is ever-present, but the fact that I can overcome it, to do things that are really hard to me is amazing.  I am a nervous driver, but there was an errand that needed to be done, and I did it.  I spoke on the phone in Danish, like it was no big deal.  I have learned, in the last few months (while having infant twins) how to drive a stick shift.  I go to the store on my own, the doctor on my own, the police station–on my own.  I’ve even made some friends, and after 3 years living in the same apartment, am feeling more settled than ever.

These five years have been a series of challenges, and I expect nothing less of the next five–but I hope I continue to grow, I hope I can be as proud of myself in 2022 as I am today.  And despite the uphill climb, I am always grateful to have had the opportunity to live here, and have never second-guessed our decision to settle in Denmark (despite the weather).

We may have work to do on our relationship, but…I love you, Denmark!

5-month Update–Oona and Beatrix

I knew I would fall behind with these at some point, but I am not giving up!  I want to do these as much for myself as for all of you–so I have something to look back on when I get all teary and nostalgic in a few years.

I am also nostalgic right now.  Nostalgic for those first few weeks when the babies would fall asleep in our arms, and sleep for hours.  Nostalgic for when they used to wake up once a night to eat and go back to sleep.  Nostalgic for when I felt like I was doing it right.

I thought month four was a doozy, but month five showed it up.

Sleep is just going downhill.  First it was naps.  The naps were 30 minutes, on the dot, and they would fight them, crying, as I sat between them with one hand on each baby, rocking them to sleep as I stared out into nothing and tried not to go crazy.  It didn’t work.  So we began sleep training, like we did for Theo–some kind of adapted-Ferber-controlled crying method.  It has worked, although not quite as well as I had hoped.  And then the night sleeping has worsened.  They go down alright around 6, then are up a few times in the evening, around 10-11 to eat, then around 2 to eat again, and then soooooometimes they sleep until six-thirty with no more fuss.  While this doesn’t look so bad when I type it out, it is really tough.  I need all the sleep and energy I can get to get through the day, and I am struggling.

I had also hoped that having them fall asleep on their own would lead to longer naps, but so far, it hasn’t, really.  This is also quite draining, as Bea usually falls asleep first, Oona will take another 15-20 minutes to fall asleep, and then Bea is up 10 minutes after Oona falls asleep.  10 minutes is not many minutes when you just. need. a. break.

They are still nursing, although we have started solids, and I think they are finally actually eating rather than just tasting, so I think we’ll move up to twice daily. I am really, really thankful that I have been able to nurse them for so long!  I am hoping now that I can keep it going until at least around the one-year mark.

They are still not moving much more than they were last month–no real rolling, although Oona especially has been getting super interested in toys, especially the ones her sister is holding.  Oona has gotten one bottom tooth, and Beatrix is definitely working on some.  The teething is, I think, a major contributor to the sleep troubles…hoping they get some releif soon!

They both are absolutely infatuated with Theo.  The moment they can see his face, they actually giggle with joy, if he’s playing with them or not.  He is their favorite person in the world.

I think they are still on track, size-wise.  Oona is moving up to 6-9 month clothes, and Trixie is not far behind.  I still have to bring them, in their carseats, down to the car at least once a day, and it is getting heavy.  I actually weighed it all yesterday, and I am hauling 50+ pounds up and down two flights of stairs.  That is many pounds.  Some days, I feel super strong, and others, I am pretty sure I might not make those last few steps to our door.

The girls’ favorite things are definitely being sung to, and being read to.  They light up, even if they are quite grumpy.

I know I have painted quite a grim picture, and things are realistically very, very hard right now, but it is still such a delight sometimes, when they both smile up at you, and you just can’t handle the love.  The girls really are so, so sweet, and no matter how hard it is, I am so grateful to have them both!

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4-month Update – Oona and Beatrix

The twins’ fourth month of life was a bit of a doozy–for Mama anyway.

Oona and Trixie are still sleeping well at night.  For a while, there were shorter stretches, but recently (probably thanks to the real, large swaddle blankets we recently bought) they have been back to waking up only once for nursing in the middle of the night, and a couple nights ago, they slept all the way through–from around 7:30 pm to 7 am!  Naps are sometimes good, and sometimes not so successful.  Usually I can count on a longer one in the morning but unfortunately, this is also when we are out and about if we have mother’s group, etc.  Their afternoon naps are a little sporadic, because sometime around 3 pm, I have to go pick up Theo from preschool.

Both girls are right on track length- and weight-wise.  Oona weighs a good two pounds more than her sister, but they are still in their own percentiles, so the difference will probably only get bigger during the first year.  They’re also still both being exclusively breastfed, which I am thankful for every day!

They both are wanting more interaction and attention these days, so it is harder to be productive, and there is more fussiness than before.  I am definitely looking forward to the day when they can sit up on their own, so they can play more easily.  We still make sure to have plenty of playtime, on their tummies, and on their backs.

The biggest deal over the past month was that Andreas returned to work.  I was slightly shocked at how much work it was to be alone with the babies.  Double the stairs, double the carrying, double the time to get out the door.  I have found the transition really physically demanding.  I got sick twice and had two episodes of a pinched nerve in my neck during  the first week and a half alone, and I am dead tired by the end of the day.

The first couple of weeks, I was feeling so drained.  Since then, I have been making a really big effort to practice self-care.  So I try to make sure I get some rest during the day, and I eat two breakfasts, a huge salad with all sorts of veggies, another lunch, and then a snack before dinner (and after, of course 😉 )  This has been sustaining me, and helping with my milk supply, I think, and I have been feeling better since I started this.  But it does make it hard to find balance during the day, since I am either running around frantically caring for babies, making food, or sitting down and eating the second the babies are settled into a nap.

Andreas is still dropping Theo off at preschool in the mornings before work.  This is awesome for me in that I don’t have to stress about getting all three kids out the door in the morning, but less awesome in that Andreas doesn’t get home until 5:30 pm, which is when we eat dinner, so I have two to three hours alone with twins who don’t really want to nap anymore, and a four-year-old that I want to spend quality time with, and I also have to make dinner!

Overall, it’s going much better right now than it was a month ago.  I am learning to be a twin-mom, and am trying to focus as much as I can on living in the present.  Those adorable faces melt my heart multiple times a day, and 95% of the time, I am still so, so glad that I got to be the lucky Mama of twins!

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Theo is Four!

Amidst all of the craziness of this summer, Theo has had a birthday.  His fourth.  Theo’s fourth year, was admittedly not an easy one–for any of us, but Theo has weathered it all with the grace of a three-year-old (which is a moderate amount of grace).  Having a mom starting work full-time, and then being basically incapacitated to some degree or another for the rest of the year was likely not easy.

This year, he was quite excited about his birthday, well in advance.  His party was wonderful, with friends and family, pancakes for breakfast, mac and cheese for lunch, pizza for dinner, and a pink and purple cheetah cake.

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Theo has grown in leaps and bounds, and when I look back on videos from a year ago (and shed a tear or two), I cannot believe it is our same Theo.  His speech–both in Danish and English has exploded.  He’s given up his pacifiers, and learned to ride a bona-fide bicycle.  He can write his name, and has graduated from only child to big-brother-of-two, of which he is enormously proud.

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Theo at four is independant.  He can do pretty much anything he needs on his own, but that does not mean that he wants to.  When he’s feeling helpful, he loves fetching me a glass of water, or a pacifier, or picking up his toys.  When he’s not–it’s life’s biggest struggle to get him to put on his own pants.

Theo at four is the biggest goof I know.  And that includes his father, which is saying a lot.  Theo at four is brave.  I can see the anxiety for new things creeping in, and my heart swells a little when I see him do something that I know isn’t easy for him.

Theo at four is loud.  His voice takes up space, and even if he turns down the volume, it still fills every crack and cranny of conversation in our home.  We have to remind him that Mama and Papa also need to get a word in edgewise every now and then.  It rather makes communicating with each other something that happens mostly after bedtime.

Out of all his birthday presents, the one Theo has loved the most is his very own game of UNO he got from his aunt (thanks!).  We play at least a few time a week, and if there weren’t two infants that suck a lot of energy, attention, and time, we’d play daily.  I LOVE that Theo is getting old enough to play games that are also fun for me 😉  He also loves reading books together, playing with small toy animals, and jumping around on the couch.

His favorite foods are enchiladas, pizza, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and curry.  He eats terribly slowly, as eating is punctuated with long, drawn-out stories, and he goes through phases where he is not very gracious about what is being served for dinner, but he will generally at least try everything, and eats a pretty varied diet.

Naptime became a thing of the past around three-and-a-half years, and while I had always dreaded the disappearance of the nap, it was actually awesome!  No, we did not have a “break” in the middle of the day, but it is so freeing to be able to go anywhere, and not worry about being back in time for nap, or waiting until he wakes up to leave.  I really loved it!  Now, of course, we’re starting from scratch again, but…at least there aren’t three naps to take into consideration!

Parenting a four-year-old is a big mess of choosing your battles and trying to hold onto some semblance of balance.  I want to shower him with good attention so he doesn’t seek negative attention, but I also want to teach him that he cannot be center-stage ALL the time.  I want to let him make his own choices, but also learn when to respect our decisions as parents.  I want to answer all his questions about God and Abdu’l-Baha and the world (as best I can) but not right when I’ve tucked him into bed.

Four years in to becoming a parent, and I am still feeling the growing pains.  I am still learning to take it easy–to try and let go.  To sometimes let him steal all the pillows in the house to make  a fort, even though it is a pain to make sure they all find their way back when the game is done.  I’ll be the first to admit that when I am tired (which has been pretty much all of the time for the past year), I can be a grumpy, sensible, no-nonsense, boring parent, so I try to take time to smell the squashed-rose-hips that Theo asks me to smell, and to let the laundry stay unfolded so we can play UNO instead.

It is endlessly exciting and exhausting to see Theo growing up and becoming his own person with his own opinions.  It’s both scary and liberating to feel him growing a little more up and away every month, but–that’s parenthood!