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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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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Two good reasons for being gone

I have basically deserted the blog for a good long while now, for a couple of reasons. Reason number one is a baby! I’m (surprise!) expecting again, which, while really exciting, means that I have been stretched beyond my limit the past few months. Morning sickness and fatigue when starting a brand new, full-time internship is really, really hard.

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The second reason is…also a baby–that’s right, twins! So…it’s been a very exciting couple of months! Starting my internship was really exciting, and really, really stressful. Finding out I was pregnant a month in (while being on the pill) was also exciting, and stressful. Finding out it was twins two months after that was just as exciting and stressful as all of the previous stressful, exciting surprises!  So…exciting and stressful just about sums up my 2016.

I am feeling less sick and exhausted now (four and a half months in) but the pain has already settled in for good, it seems. Everything else is alright–we are trying to plan for the extra additions to the family, carefully considering our first family car, double strollers, rearranging the kids’ room, and periodically looking at each other with our mouths gaping open to say “twins?!?”

Some info on the twins: they’re identical, and sharing a placenta, so I go to a lot of extra scans and doctor appointments so they can keep an eye out for TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome) and make sure the babies are growing at relatively the same rate. Twins don’t run in my family, but identical twins aren’t hereditary anyway.

I can’t say for sure if my symptoms were worse this time around, because my situation was a lot different.  Feeling sick was miserable, but I attributed the extra misery to having to haul my butt out of bed to the sound of an alarm clock every morning, and not being able to avoid the smell of coffee–I never suspected twins, or even entertained the thought. I can definitely feel the difference now, though, and see it in my belly! I thought I was really big with Theo, who was born at 9lbs 1 oz, and to think that I am going to be even more gigantic is a little overwhelming/terrifying.  But honestly, the hope is to get as gigantic as possible, as I want to keep the babies in for as long as they can be in there, so I am trying to keep that in mind, too, whenever the panic sets in.

So, that is why I have been so absent. I can’t promise to be on more often, or come with more thoughtful, well-illustrated blog posts, but I will try to keep it as updated as possible!

Oh, also, they’re girls!!!

Goals, accomplishments, and a little boasting

So, guess what I just finished reading last week!

Here’s a hint:

Yes!  I’ve finished the first Harry Potter book in Danish!  I read the whole thing out loud to Andreas, reading a bit every night for a few weeks.  Finishing it feels like a big step in being comfortable with Danish, and more than that, it feels like progress.  During the past half a year, it has been obvious that I’ve been lacking any feeling of accomplishments, as I’ve been feeling really stuck.  Without a job or being in school, I don’t have goals that are set for me, or set milestones to reach.  I’m not taking any Danish classes, so I can’t feel good about acing a test, so it’s nice when I do have a concrete feeling of accomplishment like this.

Upon finishing the first book, I headed to the library to get the next.  I knew where the Danish language books were, but I couldn’t find it there.  Normally, I try to avoid asking for help, but I needed that second book, so I asked the librarian, who looked it up and told me I’d find it in the children’s section, and that before I went in, I’d have to take my shoes off.  A bit puzzled, I left my shoes among the others at the threshold, and realized the children’s section is set up as a mini-playground with areas to climb, and nooks and crannies to read in, while the books are tucked into shelves underneath and around the play-spaces.  This is wonderful for children wanting to explore, but for an already-confused foreigner, it wasn’t very conducive to finding the book I was looking for.  I saw the Harry Potter series nearly a dozen times, each time realizing as I pulled out a book, that it was not in Danish but in French, Arabic, or Spanish.  I finally approached the children’s section librarian to ask for help, and was rewarded with Harry Potter og Hemmelighedernes Kammer!

I recently re-discovered Goodreads, a website I was a part of previously, but never used.  I’m realizing how useful it is, and have happily spent a few hours puttering around before I decided to set myself a reading goal for 2012.  Since time has been moving so quickly, I can’t fully comprehend that it’s September already, for goodness’ sake.  So, unfortunately, my goal of 50 books read by the end of 2012 may be a bit too ambitious, but I’m going to try anyway!  In my mind, it was about mid-April, and I still had eight months to complete the rest of the books.  However, I have a lot of free time, and I’m hoping also that the goal will encourage more frequent trips to the library, and having a reason to get out of the house is always a good thing.

In other goal-related news, my running has been going so well!  I can’t recommend the C25k program enough.  I’m on week seven (out of nine) and still going strong.  The worst was week one, the “couch-to-getting-off-the-couch” week, but since then, it’s felt like a series of accomplishments, and conquering things I’ve never done before.  I find it difficult not to talk about it a lot (as is pretty normal with a new passion) but I’m also just really excited that I’ve stuck with something this long!  Having no tennis shoes, I had to buy running shoes, and although I got them on ridiculous clearance, and so didn’t pay nearly as much as I originally thought I’d have to, it was still an investment, and something I knew I couldn’t just use a couple of times and then give up on.  Also, investing in a good pair of running shoes, I believe made it easier to continue as I haven’t had any foot, knee, or back pain (and I used to have a lot of trouble with my knees).  Since I’ve been so good about running regularly, I recently bought winter running clothes (pants and a light jacket) for the soon-to-be-coming winter weather.  Not only does this make me more likely to run, but it makes me look forward to the cooler weather, instead of mourning the loss of summer.

So as far as accomplishments go, I’ve been feeling really good!  I’m still adjusting to where I live.  My natural instinct when living with others, is to keep to myself and keep things neat and tidy, leaving things as I found them, and in general, making it seem like I don’t live there at all.  I have to constantly remind myself that my sister-in-law doesn’t actually want to live alone, and likes company, so I try to come out into the living room, even if I’d be just as comfortable in my bedroom, and to ask questions and start conversations, even if it’s still a bit nerve-wracking to speak in Danish, and I often get a bit tongue-tied.

So I’ve been doing alright.  With the exception of a few people I talk to every day, I’ve given up answering “how are you?” with how I’m feeling that day, as it changes so drastically, and so often.  Now, my standard answer is “oh, I’m okay, up-and-down, but on average, I’m doing well.”  Meanwhile, I still get excited every time I hear mail drop through the slot, even though no news has come for either my Swedish or my Danish visa, although last night I dreamed that we were moving within six weeks because I’d gotten my Danish visa!  However, I also dreamed (again, for the third time in a month) that I was pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl.  I’ve given up on thinking my dreams are any way clairvoyant, but they’re nice while they last, anyway.