Friday, March 30, 2007
D: As part of my efforts to link up with other twin parents I’ve joined a PEPS group consisting of other moms and thier twins all born around the same time as the Deuce. There are 8 of us, and surprisingly we all live within 5 miles of each other as well. We've only had two meetings so far, but it's been great to share similar stories and stuggles.
Here's a pic from yesterday's meeting.
Can you find the Deuce??
Monday, March 26, 2007
W: Like most folks, I am a big fan of inventions that make life easier. When our tennis ball-obsessed yellow Labrador was a puppy, he required 45 minutes of fetch every day. I quickly fell in love with the Chuck-It - an ingenious device that allows a dog lover to throw a ball for hours without getting tired or - and this is the best part - ever touching the ball. It costs $14, and it has had a profound effect on my life.
If you don't have kids or your kids are grown just trust me when I say that there has been an explosion of inventions that claim to be the new Chuck-It for parents. As to be expected, some inventions work, and others don't.
Here are some of the things that are working for us:
# 5. Baby Legs - I don't get excited about infant clothes, but these little items deserve special mention. Rather than outfitting the baby in pants to keep their legs warm, baby legs pull up like extra long thick socks that their feet fit through. This is a wonderful invention because unlike a pair of pants, you can leave the Baby Legs on when you change their diaper. Efficiency, folks - Twin Parenting is all about efficiency!
# 4. Sling Box - Sports fans, we have a winner. The Sling Box connects your TV cable box or TiVo to your Internet connection and "slings" the broadcast over your internal network wirelessly to you laptop. The picture is great, and I can watch March Madness in the nursery while rocking the Deuce to sleep. Booya.
# 3. Skype - Tons of people are on the Skype revolution, but it bears mentioning here because the service has brought us and our family so much joy. Our families are all on board, and we love keeping in touch via video conference. Oh yeah, and IT IS FREE!
# 2. TiVo - Simply awesome. We're totally down with it. We don't have time for commercials anymore anyway.
# 1. Insta-Hot - You know what I'm talking about, right? It's the hot water dispenser on a kitchen sink. The name should be changed to, "Insta-Sanitizer," or more aptly, "Parent's Best Friend." So now, when Chili Bean swipes a pacifier from one of the twins, or if a bottle falls on the kitchen floor, a quick one-two under the Insta-Hot, and we're on our way: happy babies, happy parents. Again, efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.
Friday, March 23, 2007
D: Wednesday was the Duece's 2 month birthday. I cannot believe that 2 months have already passed...I desperately want every moment back. People tell me that once you become a parent the concept of time will never be the same. I now know what that means. Time has never gone by so fast.
In two short months the boys have taken up residency in every last corner of our hearts. O (A.K.A. OBear) is now weighing in at a hefty 11.2 lbs! He now grabs on to everything and has adorably started to 'hug' when I pick him up. We are currently working on his rhythm with the rattle. He loves to take long luxurious baths...the more bubbles the better. He often stares at lights and ponders its luminosity. He’s got a rockin’ head of hair that tends to form its own fauxhawk in the morning. Some might say he’s quite the mellow baby, but they haven’t seen him when he’s hungry. He often displays a frenzied demeanor and goes for his ‘lunch’ like a german Shepard with a rag doll. (Ouch!)
If only to prove to us they are actually identical F (A.K.A. Mr. F'tastic) is also weighing in at an amazing 11.2 lbs! F’s been chatting up a storm, talking to the dogs about the good times to come. His favorite game is to clap his hands with the help of his Dad. He also loves bath time and kicks the water intently practicing his froggy stroke. He’s been smiling at everything, especially when he knows he’s about to eat. Tummy time is usually spent on his parent’s chests, where he shows us his superman pose with his feet extended and his head raised high. When put on the ground he rolls over into his back (as does Ollie, sometimes simultaneously).
Both boys are going down for bed after bath time around 9:00pm. They usually need the comfort of their swings for a while before getting to sleep. W then feeds them their ‘dream feed’ around 12:00am with a bottle of breast milk. Usually they both sleep until at least 4ish. Lately I’ve been letting one of them sleep, and they’ve been going until 5 or 6! All in all, they both have always been pretty good sleepers, which has been a dream for us!
Thanks to our dear friends for the sweet knit duds!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
W: Yow! This entry marks our 100th post, and rather than gloat or grovel, we're using the opportunity to make a few changes. Besides, it's the first day of spring, and that always calls for change.
The biggest change is to the name. We weren't tired of the title, "The Wonder Twins," but the folks over at Warner Bros. Studios are rumored to be producing a comic-turned-movie summer blockbuster based on - you guessed it - the Wonder Twins, the dynamic duo who can take the form of, say, a bald eagle and a bucket of water. The Wonder Twins also have a pet monkey named Gleek, which is kinda cool. So, rather than wait for the Cease & Desist Letter from Warner Bros.'s high-powered attorneys, we decided to beat the studio to the punch and change the name on our own.
Henceforth, we're "Blogtime in Twin Town."
We like the new name better for a variety of reasons. First, we're no longer "wondering" about the Deuce, they're here. Second, the Deuce is not only here, they live in Twin Town (D is the Mayor; I'm the Sheriff). And finally, we're tired of weirdo Wonder Twin comic-strip-movie fans accidentally stumbling onto our blog. (You'll find no pictures of Gleek here, dammit!)
We've also made room for larger pictures. Like these, enjoy:
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Folks have been demanding pictures of Mr. F'tastic's gummy grin...we knew he had it in there somewhere, and yesterday, he delivered the goods.
Friday, March 16, 2007
D: Today I had my postnatal wellness check up with my OB (AKA baby-delivery rockstar) who happily declared ‘all systems go’ and a clean bill of health. He also gave me a few more candid glimpses of the Deuce’s birthday that I was not aware of. And so, with the final perspective offering a much clearer picture of the day’s events, I thought it was time I documented the birth story before it (like so much of their short 7 week life) fades into a fuzzy memory.
Be warned: it is not for the faint of heart or stomach.
Days before the Deuce’s birth I was having a series of intense, consistent contractions. They were so frequent and painful that I was sure they were the fateful signs of labor I’d been waiting for. But on Sunday, January 21th, at 7:45am when my water broke onto the bathroom floor there were no such warnings signs to be felt. In fact, the painful contractions that followed, were not felt for almost an hour after the spill. As for the fluid, it was not clear, but rather a murky greenish black. The nurses later informed me that it was filled with meconium…AKA baby poop. It seems that my darling son, O, couldn't wait until birth to take his first dump.
The car ride to the hospital was intense. The pain of labor contractions can only be described as a surge that started in my pelvis and jolted my entire body with ferocious electricity. The brief moments between the contractions only offered relief for enough time to scream insults at W about his driving (too bumpy, too fast, too slow). Upon arrival W wheeled me up to Triage where they administered some antibiotics for me (because of the meconium) and quickly got me into my birthing room. I was contracting for only another 20 minutes or so before the anethstesiologist came with the epidural around 9:30am. It could not have come soon enough! The sharp electric pain was soon replaced with only strong pressure in my pelvis… uncomfortable for sure but much less painful.
My OB, Dr. M, arrived as the nurses were busy strapping me to the monitors that track the babies heart rates and my contractions. He quickly determined that O’s heart rate was much lower than it should be and declared that we needed to head to the O.R. to ‘get these babies out’. On the way into the OR, W leaned over to make sure I knew that ‘get these babies out’ meant an emergency c-section. Of course, this was not how I wanted it to go, but all I could think about was the safety of the babies.
Once they got me set up on the operating table the Anethstesiologist came back to administer heavy surgical anethstesia (which numbed my body from the neck down) and Dr. M began preparing for surgery. On the sidelines was W, diligently watching his son’s heart rate on the monitor. He noticed that it was slowly creeping up, and pointed this out to Dr. M, reminding him that we’d rather not have a c-section if it weren’t necessary. The doc agreed to postpone surgery and sure enough, O soon achieved a safe heart rate. Dr. M later told me that he’d never come so close to surgery and pull out. W and I take that as a personal victory.
The 3 hours afterward were spent laying in a cold O.R. waiting for the anethstesia to wear off. The anethstesia had pushed my contractions back to a near stand still, but fortunately my cervix was continuing to slowly dilate. At 1:00pm they brought me back into the birthing room and by 3:50pm I was 10 cm dilated and was ready to push. The nurses got me started, before Dr. M returned. W compares this experience with that of a sporting event. The nurses were my coaches, yelling encouragements during each ‘play’. Neither of us knew the rules of the game and to be honest, I was very doubtful that I was doing it right. I just kept searching for reassurance from my coaches. It was a strange feeling, having no idea of what I was doing, yet doing what my body was telling me to do. Despite my fervent attempts at pushing it seemed that there was something keeping O from joining us. He just wasn’t budging.
By 4:30 Dr. M sent us back into the OR for an ultrasound to see what the hold up was. He determined that O was “sunny side up”, facing up towards my belly instead of down towards my back. Dr. M decided he was going to give the baby a bit of assistance by using suction on his head.
By now I was beginning to feel waves of pain similar to what I had felt that morning, before the epidural. It was all happening so fast and I was so determined and focused on pushing O out that all I could do about the pain was scream. And scream I did! After talking with Dr. M today I now know why…the epidural had worn off by this time and the events to follow were all done without anethstesia. (Needless to say he was quite irritated with the Anethstesiologist and remarked at how he was surprised that I didn’t pass out.)
At 5:11pm Dr. M had reached his hand inside me to assist O’s head in rotation. He then attached a small suction disc, to his head as I pushed and seconds later O was born. O was taken to the other side of the room, but still hadn’t cried. I only had a moment to scream before Dr. M had his hand back inside me, reaching for F to conduct a Breach Extraction. (He had turned sideways once O was born). At 5:13pm Dr. M reached for F’s amniotic sack, pierced it, breaking the waters into a bag hanging at the end of the bed. He grabbed F by the feet and pulled him into the world just in time to hear O cry. F was soon crying in unison with his brother and his parent’s tears of joy.
As you can imagine there are many reasons why a Breach Extraction is never done without the assistance of an epidural, but somehow I managed to get through it…feeling every bit of excruciating pain along with it. But when I look back at that day the pain is the furthest thing from my mind. Soon I will forget the pain entirely, and only remember the feeling of jubilation and ecstasy when I met our children for the first time.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
D: Obviously, through pregnancy, I was preparing for the changes in our lives that would offer us new roles and identities. My idea of what it meant to be a ‘parent’ and ‘mother’ was being redefined through personal experiences. I really hadn’t given it much though to how our parent’s self identity would also change as they take on the role of grandparents.
In addition, a new relationship immediately formed the moment our children were born. What was once ‘parent and child’ is now ‘grandparent and parent’. While we were once the center of their attention, their affection is now being shared with their love for their grandchildren. This is not a bad thing, rather a very amazing and awesome realization: Someone other than myself and W can love our children as much as we do. I had no idea.
First, I must clarify that W’s parents are not first time grandparents. The Deuce has 3 older cousins. However, this has not lessoned the excitement and adoration that has poured forth from W’s parents.
The Deuce’s first dose of grandparents occurred when they were just 3 days old. My mom and step dad came out from MN for a short trip to welcome the little ones into the family.
My mother then came back 10 days later and stayed for a week to help out around the house and soak up some grandbaby lovin’. I can honestly say I have never seen her so enamored. It was incredibly helpful having her here, and the timing could not have been more perfect. She was my 2nd pair of hands when W was at school or work and helped me learn how to maneuver life with the boys. She offered to babysit one night as W and I had our first date night. (My first sushi in 9 months!! Yum!) She even took all the 3 AM feedings the entire week she was here!
When the boys were 4 weeks old W’s mom visited from Indiana to help out and enjoy her time with the grandkids. Everyday she took the dogs for walks, helped with the housework, and offered me time to sleep in, run errands, take long showers, do laundry…whatever I needed to take care of myself. We can't wait for her return visit with Grandpa S in May.
Last weekend my dad and step mom got their fill of the Deuce. It was so much fun to watch them enjoy our children the way that we do. My dad spoke fondly to each of them about future adventures they will have with grandpa (“Can you say ‘snowmobile… jet ski’?”) while my step mom wowed us with her baby-whisperer skills. Again, the help around the house, with the dogs, and the diaper changes were very much appreciated.
The Deuce can not wait to meet their grandad and grandma K, who have called from Indiana almost daily since their birth and adorned them in their first Colt’s gear in time for the Super Bowl. We are planning a time when the boys can meet them in person soon.
The visits and calls from family have been incredibly rewarding and have, in many ways, helped us ease into our lives with our little ones. The biggest reward, however, has been getting to know our parents for the first time…as our children’s grandparents.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
W: Over the past six weeks, both Dana and I have been asked if we can tell the difference between O and F's personalities. The short answer is yes. Picking out personality traits of an infant is difficult, but we have two, so every little difference between them is amplified against those of the other. They are each other's sounding boards.
So what are the differences?
The answer to that question is a bit more involved and, as is my way, long winded. You see, it all starts back in the womb, and the differences relate to Calvin and Hobbes (the philosophers, not the comic characters).
In the womb, O was always in the fortunate position of "Baby A," i.e., the baby that is closest to mom's cervix, and hence, the twin destined to breathe the air of this planet Earth first. O did not earn this position through his own merit, the fertilized egg currently known as O just happened to land a few centimeters south of where F, aka "Baby B," landed on the vast beach known as the uterine wall.
But over the course of D's pregnancy, a funny thing happened: F started closing in on the "Baby A" position. In fact, towards the end of the pregnancy, the doctors said it was a close race, and they were not sure who was going to "win." In the end, we all know what happened - Ol maintained his lead over the stubborn and well-fought battle waged by F.
And while we're reticent to label the twins in any way for fear that the label will "stick," the in utero race shines through their personalities today.
O is laid back - he's a comfortable eater who lets things come to him. He's strong and likes doing some things on his own, but his actions come with a certain laissez faire attitude that bespeaks a certain confidence that, no matter what happens, he knows he's going to finish first.
Finn, on the other hand, is competitive to the core. He's a stubborn eater who likes to do everything on his own rather than have others do things for him. He's everything you'd expect of a twin who was born in second place but came so very close to closing a gap that is so very rarely closed.
John Calvin? Thomas Hobbes? Caveat: This is an overly simplified generalization, but then again, I excel at overly simplified generalizations, so let's keep this going.
O represents John Calvin's theory of predestination, which goes something like this: God has already selected the blessed chosen few souls, after all there are only so many that may be chosen, and if you are blessed enough to be chosen, you will be rewarded on Earth. So if you find yourself as a #1 (Baby A?), your soul must be blessed. O, was #1 by virtue of his placement in the womb, and therefore he has been chosen. No wonder he's so confident.
F on the other hand, channels Thomas Hobbes. According to Hobbes, in an uncivilized world (and we can all agree that infants aren't civilized/socialized), life is a constant struggle, and to compete, humans must aggressively assert themselves to get what they need to survive. Hobbes uses this view of man to argue for his social contract theory, which leads to government which leads to peace and prosperity. But that comes later for F. Right now, his view is one of uncivilized Babyland self-determinism marked by a distinct competitive streak.
OK, OK. I'll stop. Am I looking into this too deeply? Perhaps, but when I'm up taking care of these little guys in the middle of the night, these are the things we talk about...