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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3-month Update – Oona and Beatrix

Another month has come and gone, just as quick as the months before.  The girls are now officially three months old, and the summer is nearly over, which means Andreas’s paternity leave is also nearly over.

Besides the threat of impending alone-ness, things are still going great!  The girls are still sleeping well at night *frantically finds some wood to knock on* and growing well!  They usually eat about every 2 hours during the day, and wake up once to twice during the night for a little snack, and usually go right to sleep again.  Daytime naps are generally about an hour, although lately, they have slept a little more for their naps, and a little less during the night.

Oona and Trixie are still pretty generous with their smiles, even with strangers.  And the other day, they started smiling to each other!  They were on their playmat, and they didn’t even glance at the toys for about half an hour because they were so busy looking at each other.

Both girls are not very fussy–they get their fussiest if they are tired, and haven’t been put to bed on time, so we try to be aware of how long they’ve been awake so we can read their cues correctly.  Recently, Theo had a birthday party, and we had another busy day the next day, and I could tell that the two days put together was a bit much for them, but they just needed a bit more calm and sleep to recover, and they’ve been fine ever since.

We’re going in to get their 3-month vaccines on Friday (along with Theo and his 4-year booster) so that will probably be a little hard (not to mention loud).

Otherwise there is not too much to mention.  The twins are amazing babies, and I feel like we’re really settling into life as a family of five.  Of course, it’s all going to be shaken up now when Andreas starts work and I’m on my own a lot more, but we’ll figure it out.  I noticed that I haven’t written about them much individually as of yet.  I feel like their personalities are still quite similar.  Beatrix is fussier overall, but Oona needs a bit more sleep and gets agitated when she’s tired.  Beatrix has rolled a bit from front to back, but Oona hasn’t tried yet, and Oona has just started laughing whereas we’re still waiting for Trixie’s first giggles.

I still look at them sometimes and can’t believe that there are TWO of them.

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Time Flies

This is getting ridiculous.

I just don’t know when I have the time to post anymore.  Let alone think of something to write about for a post.  Or remember to buy lemon juice because I KEEP FORGETTING TO.

But this will be a mighty quick update as I wait for cookies to cool before I spend some cozy time with Andreas because that is a top priority in this house.

The most significant change as of late is that Theo only takes one nap.  The transition is going pretty well, actually, and it’s really not as bad as I thought it would be, but it does mean less time to do the things that I can only do while Theo sleeps (certain chores, writing cover letters/job applications, writing on a blog, reading, knitting, breathing, etc.).  The days are just rushing by, and it’s almost November, which is crazy.

Andreas and I still have so much to do around the apartment, but the biggest two are: removing the enormous pile of cardboard to the recycling center (which isn’t easy because we don’t have a car), and putting up lamps (since it’s dark by 5 pm here now).  The lamp thing was supposed to be this weekend’s project, but as the delivery people 1. arrived 5 hours early, 2. can’t get into the building because the buzzer isn’t connected yet, and 3. apparently aren’t allowed to have phones so they can call us when they’re here, I don’t know when/if we’ll get the lamps that we ordered last week.  So for now, it’s one floor lamp in the living room, and candlelit dinners until we can get it figured out.

I’ll end this now so that we can squeeze in some date-night time together, along with some other little odds and ends of business before I go to bed early because for goodness’ sake, I’m so exhausted lately and don’t really know why.  My best guess is the extra hours of running around after Theo during the day, but who knows.  Hopefully more updates soon!

I'm far too cool for two naps a day...

I’m far too cool for two naps a day…

Now is the Best

Although yesterday’s birthday post was brief, that was due more to the fact that it was past 11 (my bedtime) than to the number of things I had to say.  I’ve actually been thinking a ton about my small boy.

All my life, I’ve wanted babies.  Babies, babies, babies.  The kind that stay cuddled up in your arms, eat nothing but milk, and make small, precious noises.  I wanted to be pregnant, feel the baby kick, wash tiny baby clothes, knit tiny baby sweaters, and have an unstoppable urge to wrap things like burritos.  So when I got pregnant, I was thrilled.  It was a pretty simple pregnancy, and I enjoyed the HECK out of it.  I still miss it.

And when Theo was born, of course I loved him to bits.  I did the whole staring at him in disbelief, taking naps with him snuggled on my chest, the sleepless nights, and all things newborn.  But if I’m being 100% honest, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would.  I’m pretty sure that a lot of that was due to hormones and sleep deprivation (it’s hard to enjoy much of anything when you can hardly stay awake during it).  But as Theo got older, it started getting better.  Each new phase seems better than the last–he’s doing more things, with purpose, being more of a small person, and I LOVE watching it.  I love it in a way that I can’t remember loving his tiny-ness (although, let’s face it, he was never that tiny…) or the newborn fog.  We got him a ring-stacking toy for his birthday, and although he’s not very good at it, he is so absolutely determined and patient.  I actually get a real thrill watching him, hoping, cheering him on.

I love the way he’ll set any sock he finds on the nearest available foot, and he somehow learned where his head is, though we never taught him.  He stubbornly refuses to learn Mama and Papa (which we tirelessly try to teach him).  I can see things happening in that little-boy head, and it’s breath-taking.

I used to be really disappointed that I wasn’t enjoying being a mom as much as I always imagined I would.  And I didn’t–at first.  But now, I’m accepting the fact that yes, I enjoy the small boy things more than I enjoyed the baby things, and while it’s not what I expected, it’s absolutely fine.

It’s almost like how I always thought I’d like strong cheese–and be sophisticated and all that.  And now that I’ve tried it–many times, in many different forms, I hate it.  And it’s a bit disappointing, not liking something that I thought I’d really like.  However, I’ve discovered that I do really like strong mustard and green olives, which I previously didn’t think I’d like.  That kind of cushions the blow, and reminds me that  for every thing that I don’t love, there’s something I do.

As much as I was disappointed over the fact that I didn’t enjoy every minute of the newborn phase–nor am I likely to next time, I’m reassured, realizing that this early-toddler phase–a point where I assumed I’d mourn his babiness, his dependency, and other things I’d never get back–is really awesome.  My days are happier, faster, and chock full of laughter (from both of us).  I’m happier, I feel like I’m a better mom than I’ve ever felt before, and I’m kept on my toes–never knowing when he’ll completely blow my mind next.  Now is the best.

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Theodore James Turns One

Today, my boy is one.  My boy is one year old!

His personality is coming in with his fine blond hairs.  His grin is getting more mischievous, his giggles more frequent.  He’s running faster, squealing more loudly, and climbing into and onto everything–step stools, toy boxes, clothes baskets, wagons, his stroller….  Today, he was able to reach the handles to the kitchen cupboards (oh joy.) while yesterday, he wasn’t.

But he’s still only one.  He’s not a teenager yet, and that means he’s getting up at seven tomorrow, so this will be brief.  A look back in time:

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One month

One month

Two months

Two months

 

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Three months

Four months

Four months

Five months

Five months

Six months

Six months

Seven months

Seven months

Eight months

Eight months

Nine months

Nine months

Ten months

Ten months

Eleven months

Eleven months

Twelve months

Twelve months

He’s one, and I was wrong–I am getting teary.  But not in the bittersweet sort of way.  Just in the “I’m so happy it’s his birthday” kind of way.  And also, this sounds ridiculous, but somehow, he seems just a little bit more of a real person, now that he’s had a birthday.  He’s opened presents (surprisingly reluctantly) and been sung to (and been appropriately bashful about it) and eaten cake.  Boy, did he eat cake.

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A Wilder Side of Breastfeeding

This week is National Breastfeeding Week.  Or something like that.  And I just thought I’d chime in with my small experience.

I’ve been nursing Theo for almost a year now.  I am neither proud nor not proud of that fact, but I am grateful and glad, because it’s saved us money, and been a lot more convenient (usually).  But about that special bond we’re supposed to have…

We don’t, really.

This week, you’ll probably see lots of photos of mothers tenderly looking down at tiny infants who are gazing back with buckets full of love.  That’s not exactly how it went for us.   For about the first month, I would wince, and sometimes almost writhe while breastfeeding.  It was painful.  In an effort to improve his latch, I watched youtube videos on breastfeeding.  The women would gently settle their baby on the pillow, pull out their breast, and bring the baby (who was lying peacefully with her mouth open, ready and waiting) to her nipple, and the baby would eat.

Now, I don’t know if their babies were exceptional, or if mine was, but Theo did not lie still, all ready to receive his mother’s bounty.  He kicked and flailed his arms about, and although his mouth was open wide, it was shaking from side to side so quickly that I kept missing, and trying to latch him on by his ear instead of his mouth.

What ended up helping was getting all set up with my pillows, taking the baby, and immediately pulling one of his arms under mine and pinning it to my side to keep him in place as the other arm sort of pinned his legs down so he wasn’t as wiggly, and I could maybe get him latched on.  And when he did look up at me, it looked more like he was giving me a suspicious side-eye than gazing lovingly at me.

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It definitely got easier, and nursing went smoothly until about 7 or 8 months when he 1) got stronger and 2) started self-weaning.  Andreas’s mom said that Andreas stopped nursing at 6 months, and I could tell that Theo was losing interest.  Theo is not a cuddler.  He had places to go and things to see, and he couldn’t do any of that while nursing (though, let me tell you, he tried…ouch.).  After a couple of weeks of struggling and fighting to get him to nurse, I dropped a few feedings, and started giving more solid foods (with the doctor’s encouragement).  We also cut out night feedings around this time, and Theo, with the extra real food in his belly, and no more waking out of habit at night- SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! Wahoo!

Now he’s down to nursing only in the morning and evening, which is incredibly freeing for me.  Not only am I happy about not having to wear nursing-friendly clothes all the time, and not having to worry about needing to be there for him at certain points throughout the day (Papa can do it, now!), but I am really happy that the wrestling sessions are reduced to twice daily.

The morning nursing is best, when he’s hungry and thirsty, and happy to see me.  But nighttime is still a struggle, and I have a feeling he’ll drop that before he’ll drop morning nursing.  He rolls away from me approximately ever 5 seconds, sits up, and crawls back,nurses for a few more seconds, rolls away, repeat.  It’s kind of exhausting.

I’m very thankful that I was able to breastfeed, and I’m not planning on stopping at any given point, but I’m happy that it’s only twice a day, and I don’t think I’ll be sad when it’s over.  I fed my baby, but for us, it wasn’t anything more than that.  And that’s okay.

I used to be smart…right?

Life abroad has its ups and downs.  Life as a mom has its ups and downs.  And I just hit downs on both.

Before I get into this, I just want to say that I know it’s totally normal to have moments and days and weeks like this.  Moving so far away from home, trying to settle into a new life with a new language, and putting forth every best effort to find friends is taxing.  I totally get that this is how it’s supposed to be, and this is how I’m supposed to feel.  And man is this hard sometimes.

I speak Danish well.  I was blessed with a language-learning head, a little bit of perseverance, and lovely, incredibly patient, in-laws who’ve helped me so much.  But honestly, I don’t speak Danish well enough to be 100% myself when I’m speaking it.  A lot of the time, the words come easily, but sometimes they don’t.  It’s great that I’m able to communicate fairly well, but it’s frustrating when my train of thought is constantly halting, jumping, and false-starting because I can’t fish the right words out quite quickly enough.  It’s frustrating to have a funny comment that I can’t quite figure out how to put into Danish words, or to be explaining something, only to give up halfway through because the round-abouts I’m taking to explain things I don’t know the words to are just too much.  To be blunt, I feel dumb a lot.  And when I think about it, of course I’m not dumb–I learned Danish for goodness’ sake.  But I still feel dumb.

And feeling dumb isn’t making the job thing any easier.  I’m not quite job-searching yet, but we’re moving in September, and I’m hoping to find some sort of a job in the fall/winter–whether it be an at-home daycare, or a job outside of the home.  But just assuming that the at-home daycare doesn’t work out, I’d have to job-search.  And that is scary.  Completely apart from having to do this all in Danish and in Denmark where I know very little about the job market, I feel totally unequipped to be job-searching.

I’m going to go to the job center in not too long, present them with my educational and work background, and just hear what options I have here in Denmark, which I’m sure will help a lot.  Because as of right now, I don’t feel like I can do anything.

For most of my life, I felt smart.  In first grade, I was reading chapter books.  In second grade, I got to learn cursive.  In third grade, I was the fastest typist in the class.  You get the picture.  This continued through elementary school, middle school, high school, and, surprisingly, even college.  I know it sounds super smug, but I just got used to being one of the “smart kids.”  And that was a huge part of my identity.

There was a time when I was in college, working three jobs.  And I turned out some of my best work that year, yet I also remember having time to have fun with my friends, and plan my wedding and our life together.  Nowadays, I’m proud of myself if I manage to vacuum once a week.  (Although, come to think of it, I don’t think I vacuumed more than once every couple of months back then…)

The thing is, I’ve been not much more than a wife and then a mom for the past couple of years, and I feel like I’ve gotten gradually less and less intelligent.  I also haven’t been able to have a job for two and a half years now, which leaves me feeling less than competent.

I know that at one point, I was really smart.  I know that at one point, I was even really confident, and I felt like I could really do anything.  These days, I don’t feel like there’s any job that I could do well.  In my head, I know that I would actually be the best candidate for many jobs–that I would do them well, and be happy doing them.  But in my not-head, I feel completely inadequate.

SO!

So, I’ve made a small plan to get myself back on track.  My goal for the week is to make up a list of books I want to read that I can get from the library in Denmark, and go get them.  And that’s pretty much it for now.  But I’m going to try to use Theo’s naptimes to do more than giggle at posts on BabyCenter asking how people sanitize their baby’s high chair trays (ummmm….wipe with the damp cloth I used to wipe the baby’s face, anyone?) and watch terrible TV.

It’s okay that I did those things, but now that I feel like I’m coming out of the survival mode fog, I feel like I need to get my self back, and a part of that self is reading, learning, writing, and doing smart things.

Any recommendations for books (they don’t have to be “smart” books, haha!) or ideas for getting that old confidence back?

 

Day 2

2. Snack

may 2

These various bits of burger buns left over from dinner are destined to be my snack.  Or I might trade them in for a brownie…since the brownies are getting old and all…

But it’s a bit funny that today’s picture is “snack” and I’ve been thinking a lot about snacks lately!  I’ve been pretty dissatisfied with my body since Theo was born, and over the past couple of months I put on a few of the pounds I had lost, so I decided to start being a bit more mindful about my snacking and portion sizes.

And while I’ve been paring down (you know, from 8 brownies a day to 4…), Theo needs some bulking up!  He was born at over 9 pounds, but has since become a skinny, skinny boy (with a large, round, lollipop head).  The health visitor came by today, and she had some suggestions for us.  Basically, we’re night weaning, and only nursing 3 times a day, with 3 real meals and 2-3 snacks in between.  And suddenly it feels like, if Theo’s not eating, I’m busy making food for his next little mealtime.  But we’ll try it for a while, and see what happens!  We’re also adding extra fat to…well, basically everything.

To be honest, I’m not all that worried.  He’s a skinny little man, but he’s getting so active, curious, and really interactive that I know he’s getting what’s most important.

But who doesn’t want a little chub on their baby?