Monday, 23 August 2010

family of five seeks...

One worry we had when discovering we were expecting twins was fitting our expanding family into our modest car.  With Holly still on a bumper seat it was impossible to fit two baby car seats in also so hesitantly we had to remove her seat.  Travelling, for Holly, involved being squashed between two babies on the back seat of a ford focus as there was no chance of all three fitting onto the back seat of my Peugeot 206.  So for the last 7 weeks we have been on a quest to find a car, a harder task than expected leaving me within an inch of writing a lonely hearts column...

family of 5 seeks car large enough to seat 7 with ample boot space.  Low mileage, good clean body and reliable engine essential.  Must be accessible to those on a tight budget!

Well this doesn't appear to exist on a tight budget so yesterday, with the advice of Lees' Dad we put a deposit on a 54 reg ford galaxy that comes in a clean £1000 over budget, double the amount we ideally wanted to spend. This car, however will make life easier, three kids in the back (sometimes four if you include my niece), space for the pushchair and shopping, plus its a comfortable drive.  Can't wait to collect it next week!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Routine Update

Well as Lee has said we have had some success with our routine, however, the one we tried after reading the baby whisperer was not what bought this success.  The initial routine involved 3 hourly feeds and by day 2 the babies were so well feed they barely woke...this meant that activity time was completely non-existent.  On day 3 A contented House with Twins by Gina ford dropped through the letter box and it has proved an interesting and useful read.

I have heard many times that Gina ford pushes a strict routine that doesn't allow for individuality in babies and in part I would agree.  The routine she talks of is extremely structured- down to telling Mum when to eat!  This I feel is a step to far!!  However there is space for a certain amount of adaption and I have taken some advice she has given and implemented it into a routine that fits us, such as babies in bed by 7 o clock. This new routine is mostly working for us...most evenings the house falls silent at 7 apart for the sounds coming from Holly playing on the Wii that is.  This evening time is much needed, it gives Lee and I time with Holly and time with each other, it has also provided a sleep pattern that involves only one night feed although we are hoping to phase this feed out.

Between the two 'manuals' I have read I have managed to implement a structure that works for us and the babies.  I' very pleased I read them but would always say take what you can from what you read but don't use it as a bible and let it dictate your life.  If I listened to everything Gina ford had said I would be lonely by now as her day doesn't incorporate leaving the house.

Monday, 16 August 2010

One bold step for man, one giant leap for Kirsty and I.

So we have made it to, I suppose, the first major milestone in Max and Fia’s lives.  Has it really been six weeks already?  Has it really taken me that long to write my first blog post on here?  Well, yes it has!  It has been a very busy but already fulfilling month and a half - the fact that we have two seemingly content babies is testament to the both of us.  Quite frankly, I’m still surprised I haven’t left them in a supermarket trolley or something similar yet.  I must say that I’m quietly confident now that I won’t either!

I shall attempt to explain, from a Dad's point of view, how I have found living with twins for the past six weeks.  Hopefully it might help others in the long run as I have found literature specific for Dad's (i.e. one with lots of pictures and gory details!) can be hard to come by.  I'll start with some of the main changes in our household that we have had to get used to.

The biggest shock for me was not what appears in the bambino’s nappies when there is a quietly proud look on their face; nor how many metres (and yes, I mean metres!) that they can projectile vomit milk across the room; but simply the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ that is needed for the early months/years.  In the first couple of weeks we accumulated enough stuff to fill up our house.  Twice.  We’re working on the third time…

This is one of the, admittedly strange – in relation to caring for children generally not being a walk in the park, unless you’re walking through the park…  You know what I mean! - new things in our lives that has been difficult in some ways and it technically has nothing to do with caring for Max and Fia themselves, as finding a place for everything has become a challenge of Krypton Factor proportions.  Cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, cubby holes, the floor have all become full to the brim – even our pockets store things that have no other home!  But seriously, after all the horror stories I had heard previous to Max and Fia’s birth, I am finding - even though things like a lack of sleep are hard - that actually looking after them is so joyous, no matter how repetitive it may seem, that you forget about everything else.

This might, in part, have something to do with the fact that I have been working for (as weird as it sounds) a majority of their lives and do not see them as much as I would like, I guess I also do not have to constantly think about when their next feed is etc as Kirsty does during the day; but it obviously comes with its own pitfalls.  Namely that of very heavy sleep.

Kirsty is quite honestly a godsend, as for the last few weeks I have really struggled with some of the night feeds.  A combination of long hours at work and patchy sleep has lead to such heavy sleeping patterns that I can’t remember when the twins were last fed or sometimes even wake up to their calls for food at all!  On occasion I have woken in a panic thinking I still had either Max or Fia in my arms and fallen asleep.  I want to help Kirsty out as much as I can, considering she has to do the day shift as well as some of the night shift so you can see how it has become troublesome.  Without Kirsty prompting me or reminding me when they were last fed I would be finding the whole process much harder.  It’s not every night, but the push in the right direction is definitely something I need at two in the morning and I think I'm getting used to it.

Getting the twins in a broad day routine has helped a lot for the night feeds, generally they are quite good at keeping to the one proper night feed (approx 2am) and the later/early feeds that bookend it (10-11pm and 5/6am respectively).  That is apart from the moment in time I am writing this entry, apparently!

To sum up my first six weeks succinctly, here are the polar opposites of best and hardest things about being Max and Fia’s Dad.  The hardest thing is being away from them so much, as I feel I’m missing an important time in their development.  The best part?  Everything else.  Honestly, I enjoy every moment I spend with them, as I do with all of our suddenly massive family, but if I had to pick one thing - at the moment play time is my favourite.  Lot’s of smiles!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh...We need some routine

After a few sleepless nights almost 6 weeks into our new life I have decided it's time to implement a set routine. Everyone kept telling me how important this is with twins, for my own sanity apparently, but I thought I would see how it goes.  The problem was that I would find myself up more in the night than asleep and I was slowly becoming grouchy.  On Saturday I did something I always swore I wouldn't do....I bought a 'baby manual'.  Top tips from the baby whisperer: Sleep by Tracy Hogg was the book of choice and it has given us some help so far.  This book is aimed a singletons but I am finding I can adapt it to twins easily.  The main priciple it works around is the acronym E.A.S.Y- Eat, Activity, Sleep and You.  We are currently attempting to implement this in a three hour routine and we have adapted the timings to suit the routine of Holly.  We want the twins to go to bed at 7 so that we have some time with Holly before her bedtime at 8 so I have implemented a three hour routine that incorporates a 6pm feed. 

The idea is that you feed baby, have some activity, put baby to sleep and have some you time before it starts all over again.  I was slightly concerned that at 6 weeks babies can't partake in much activity but the book does point out that for young babies activity can be just gazing at the wall (an activity my babies love).  Activity also includes bath time, changing time etc so it isn't too hard to fill.  As I said we wanted routine mainly so I could get more sleep, and Tracy Hogg suggests that a good day time routine leads to a good night time routine.  A cluster feed is suggested for babies that are having a growth spurt (although I am unsure how you would know this until you are already involved in a sleepness night), this consists of two feeds close together around bedtime; in this house at 6 and 8.  This is then followed by a dream feed at 10pm, this 'tanks up' baby to encourage a longer sleep period.  Both babies are fed at the same time and as they are similar sizes they should be able to sustain themselves for similar timings.

There are slightly mixed results on this at the moment although I'm feeling positive - partly due to not being woken til 2am last night.  Max only took one cluster feed but took the dream feed well, Fia, however, took both cluster feeds and not the dream feed.  Maybe if both had taken all three feeds slightly more sleep would have been had.

The other big thing we are taking from this book is the 'shush-pat' method to help with sleep.  fia is a geat self settler but Max doesn't find it so easy.  This recommened method has been used by Daddy and Max, it appears to work great for them, with Max settling easier last night.  I, however, am still trying to master this method but I'll keep shushing away in the meantime.

It is, however, early days and I'm not expecting too much just yet.  My aim is to get to 4am without a peep from either baby, hopefully maintaining this routine will help us get there. 

This book was definitely worth purchasing as it has given plenty of ideas how to help, just incase though I have ordered the contented house with twins.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

New Arrivals

After an eventful week Max and Fia arrived into this world on 1st July 2010 weighing 6lb and 6lb 12 respectively (yes-I was huge!).  Since that day, 5 weeks ago exactly, life in the Warren/Relton household has been strange.  Over night we grew from a quiet, well adjusted family of 3 to (what seems like) a huge family of 5.  I always intended to have 3 or 4 children (Lee may disagree here) however I thought it would be a gradual process, we would be a family of 4 for a while then 5 etc.  Going from one child to two is a big step however going from one to three is a gigantic leap.  This difference in size has made life interesting to say the least and for the first time in five weeks I am going to say this is hard!

I didn't think this was going to be easy, having one baby isn't easy however I have refused to admit this is hard (and there are some people I still won't admit it to).  Throughout the pregnancy I got all the usual comments faced by twin Mums

"double trouble"
"you've got your work cut out"
"how are you going to manage that" ((not so) reassuringly from my Nan)
"Congratulation but Good Luck!"

I always smiled and responded "we'll be fine, we are really lucky".

Now when "asked is it hard?" I respond "no everything just takes a little longer".  Well I have to say, that little longer makes it hard.
What with one is a 30 minute night feed is an hour night feed with two.
Where with one you might sterilise 8 bottles a day with two you do sixteen.
When one baby has been settled down there is still one crying waiting for their hug/feed/change/*insert here

Life now revolves around washing, cleaning bottles and feeding and if I'm really lucky there may be time for an uninterrupted hug with Holly or a kiss with Lee however that would be a good day.
Despite this I wouldn't change it, we are lucky-a thought I keep repeating to myself, many would love the opportunity to have one baby and we received two.

In return for the sleepless nights and testing days we will receive double the love and double the laughs. We have two little people to watch grow and develop, two that we can enjoy and nurture.  The next few years may be a challenge but its one I intend to succeed at.