Caring for sick twin babies: Five tips

The boys were sick the past few days and we had to stay home from work to care for them. For part of that time, we tag-teamed it up and one of us stayed at home while the other went to work, then we switched. While I was alone, I realized there was a lot to learn about caring for twin babies who are sick. Here are five of them that really stood out to me:

#1) Put Frozen (or other favorite movie) on repeat

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In the past three days alone, we’ve watched Frozen at least 3,849,102 times. I lost track. What I really need is to figure out how to get just the SONGS on repeat. The boys will go from freaking out, screaming banshees to frozen (no pun intended), quiet little boys with their mouths wide open as they stare at the screen.

#2) Break all food rules

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What does that mean? Eat food in non-food zones? Play with a container of crackers even though it may (and will) break open and crumbs will scatter everywhere? Eat 512 puffs in one sitting? Whatever it takes, DO IT. Yes, you’ll pay for it later, whether in the clean up or in the reverting back to good habits. But when I see how excited those little addicting rice crackers are, I can’t help but continue passing them along to the boys. Plus, they really lost their appetites when their sicknesses hit them, so I just go with any way to get food in em.

#3) Break all sleeping rules

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Ok, this is a hard one for me. We are extremely adamant about enforcing the boys’ sleeping and nighttime schedules. They have pretty set areas for nap time, for example. They sleep on small pillows in our family room for their early morning naps and in their cribs for their long afternoon naps. But when the babies are sick, recovery trumps routine! Monkey #1 spent almost the entire Sunday sleeping in our bed. It was heartbreaking to see him so miserable and tired, so he could hog the entire king bed all he wanted.

#4) Reunite the babies

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Once the “contagious period” has cleared (or at least you think it has), put the twins back together! The boys don’t show it all the time, but they definitely have grown very much used to each other and I really believe they feel better once they are near each other again. It’s a twin thing. They belong together. Separation is no bueno.

#5) Get help

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Being outnumbered SUCKS! It’s hard enough caring for twin babies alone. Is it possible? Yes. But it’s triply and quadruply (are those words?) hard to care for them when they’re sick!!! They are clingy, and fussy, and needy, and whiney… the CRYING! OH, THE CRYING! It’s amazing how much they scream when you simply put them down or walk away. And it not only breaks my heart to hear the crying, but I know they are sick so there is almost no exception for tending to their needs. Having an extra pair of hands to help hold, soothe, and care for the babies with you is essential to maintaing sanity. And look! They bring food (and sometimes boba) with them!!! Shoutout to Auntie Ninang for coming to the rescue!

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Do you have other tips and tricks for caring for sick babies/toddlers? Tell me!!! I need to know!!!

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***Disclaimer: These pieces of advice are for FUN ONLY and are not actual medical advice! Seek your pediatrician or a nurse for advice immediately if your baby is sick!!!***

Five things I’ve learned about having twins

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A quick sneak peek at my new obsession… Can’t wait to really get into chalkboards and calligraphy and all things fonts/pens/writing!

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Jer takes a selfie

After doing this twin-raisin’ thing for a year now, I think that qualifies me to finally share some important lessons learned. If you’ve read some of my posts throughout the past year (plus my pregnancy), you know that I’ve not only dealt with my fair share of challenges, I’ve learned a lot about becoming a first-time parent and mother. Not only in figuring out how to care for two infants, but how to keep my sanity, stay strong, and do things for me.

Yes, he's a lot louder than he appears

Yes, he’s a lot louder than he appears

While this list could go on for much longer, here are the top five things that I’ve been thinking about lately. These five things pretty much summarize life with twins at my house. I think it’s safe to assume other first-time moms and especially moms of multiples can agree with me here. If you are not yet a parent, you would probably find this list intriguing, especially if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to raise a baby, let alone two! 🙂

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1. Lots of crying

The nature of having twins is that you cannot always tend to them when they need you. If I had a DIME for every time a baby cried while I tended to his brother, there would be no need for a college savings account. It breaks my heart and every bone in my body hearing them cry, but not only do I know that I will eventually get to them, I also know they won’t remember these days!

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2. It’s not double the trouble

It’s triple, sometimes quadruple, the trouble! Yes, it’s twice the diapers, twice the bottles, twice the soothing, twice the care. But the effort required to care for infant twins is compounded by the fact that you cannot always immediately tend to a baby’s needs, causing him to cry and fuss even more, and so you scramble around trying to finish tending to the first crying baby, and after you finally get to the second crying baby, you feel like you’ve run a mini marathon and can barely catch your breath. Then, you finally catch your breath, but it’s time to do it all over again!

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3. If it’s not one, it’s the other

Even when you think you’ve got the hang of this twin-parent thing, it’s such a challenge figuring out what they need. You finally get one baby happy, then the other is not having it. Or one baby finally gets through a week or two of fussiness ALL THE TIME, and then now the other baby is fussy all the time. It’s almost like they know how to tag team it. On a less difficult note, the same goes for other things as well. Taking a picture of the babies together is quite a feat. one baby will be cheesing and laughing while the other is mean-mugging. Then they’ll switch. Not gonna lie, it can take up to 5-10 pictures just to get one DECENT one.

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4. You have a built-in excuse for quite a while

I have no shame (maybe a drop) using the boys as an excuse to be too tired to work out or do anything productive, an excuse for a messy home (don’t all new parents get to pull that card?), and an excuse to do be grumpy and irritated. Yes, they’re a joy, but the happiness is not without the struggle. If I have to go through all this work for the babies, don’t expect me to do much else! I used to tell myself that I get double the clearance time to workout (typically new mothers have to wait 6 weeks until cleared by the doctor to work out). That doubled clearance time tripled and quadrupled and now it’s one year later and I’m still not trying to lift a single dumbell. I can barely trot down the block without dry heaving, so I am just not ready to work out yet.

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5. You’re heart wants to explode

Ok, I’ll stop complaining. How is there even anything to whine about when I get the blessed opportunity, privilege, and honor of being the parent to two beautiful, healthy baby boys? Every day they amaze us. It sounds cheesy and cliche, but they truly do fill my heart beyond capacity. Just this morning when they were being difficult at breakfast – they weren’t eating, refusing and whining and pushing the spoon away – I was very frustrated because I put so much time and energy and MONEY into preparing them good ol’ homemade baby food. I didn’t expect the rejection to be so heartbreaking and irritating. After I put the boys in their playyard alone and walked away, I overheard them laughing with each other. These boys were seriously cracking up. I go and peek at what is going on and find Adrian playing peek-a-boo with Jer and they were both hysterically laughing. It is those breakthrough moments that bring me back to the ground and realize that we are doing just fine.

Motherhood: Feeling good about yourself again

A fellow first-time mama expressed how she felt unattractive and such a Plain Jane.”

She was worried about losing weight, looking good for her husband, and finding confidence in herself again. She asked if any other mamas had similar feelings.

Here’s how I responded:

Can relate completely. When your hair is falling out, you’re sporting eye bags and milk stains, and you would rather sleep than take a shower, how are u ever supposed to feel good again?

Then I tell myself, all that soft flab turned mush bc of the 3 mos strict bed rest I endured to give my babies a fighting chance to survive. Those sleepy eyes have passed on precious sleep to tend to, care for, and soothe your darling babies. And those showers dont matter because your one and only mission is to pump, take care of babies, and nourish yourself so you can go on another day.

Don’t worry, mama. The time will come when you can do ur hair, take a nice,
long hot shower, go shopping, and sleep long enough for a restful face. But until then, trust me when I say, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!'” If you dont feel it or no one else tells you, just know ur little one has known that from the start. Ok, my novel is over! 🙂

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Believe me when I say that in those beginning weeks and months, I did not know when I could feel like ME again. It was a treat to get out of my PJs and brush my teeth. I barely had time to brush my hair, let alone wash it, so I threw it up in a messy bun ALL. THE. TIME. My “uniform” became capris, loose tops, and the hair bun. When I left the house, I contemplated whether the spit up stains and dirt on my clothes could be seen from 5 feet away; if the answer was no, I did not need to change.

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***TMI WARNING!!!***

It is pretty gross being a first-time mom in the beginning.

You’re recovering from pregnancy: MONTHS of your body being stretched and a growing baby.

You’re recovering from labor and delivery: Some women go hours and days of the ultimate, grueling effort one’s body could ever endure.

And you try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to recover from the lack of sleep and rest, but you never seem to catch up (and I am afraid I’ve heard long-time parents who say you NEVER catch up).

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I may never again feel 100% like my “old self.” But already I feel stronger, happier, and more beautiful, simply because I brought two lives into this world and their happiness and health fuel me every single day.

You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll continue to say it. From surviving to thriving, there IS light at the end of that long, dark tunnel, and I’m ecstatic to finally say I am literally prancing around in that sunshine. (Gosh, I am such a SAP!!!:)

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I was afraid to post so many pictures of ME, because I truly believe life is no longer about me and it is about the boys. But that would be a mistake to forget about myself and putting myself first.

To all my fellow mamas out there, celebrate yourselves! Look in the mirror and realize what an amazing, strong, confident, gorgeous person you are. Yes there are trials and times you want to give up. But try your best to be happy more than sad, and always choose joy.

After all, happy mama = happy babies!!!

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Cheers!

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The boys recently turned ONE! Check out their one-year update here!

The twins at 1 year

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AJ & JT @ 1 Year

The twins @ 1 year

One year. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year? (shoutout to my R.E.N.T. fans out there!) How do you measure a year with twin babies? Without having an accurate record count, I’d say 5,000 bottles, 4,300 diapers, 2,000 pumping sessions, 16,000 ounces of milk pumped, and who knows how much $$$ spent on baby STUFF. Would I call my babies priceless? Ehh… they are pretty dang expensive. Not only monetarily speaking, but they cost us sleepless nights, endless worries, immeasurable energy, countless drops of blood, sweat, and tears… Would I call my babies worth it? Is that even a question? Without blinking an eye, of course they are worth it. They are worth more than life itself.

…And now they are ONE! We made it an entire year, just when I thought I’d never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Time to throw away the receipt and keep them forever! If we made it through the roughest part of their lives (relatively speaking), I can truly say we can make it through anything.

I posted these thoughts of mine on Facebook and Instagram a few days ago. I finally have some time to share here:

Getting the nervous jitters. Nearly a year ago, we prayed and waited patiently for the boys to arrive. With each day that passed, I literally cried with joy knowing the boys were blessed with another chance to grow and “cook.” And then at 34 weeks and 5 days, they decided it was time to make their debut.

This Friday, we’ll celebrate their first birthday. As much as it is a huge milestone for them, it is an even bigger celebration for us. Cheers not just to the joy, happiness, and laughter, but to all the pain, tears, frustration, challenge, exhaustion, and heartache we’ve endured. Here’s to going from surviving to thriving.

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It’s amazing how much can happen in a year.

There were the worries:

  • the boys’ early arrival (34 weeks & 5 days)
  • their almost-month-long stay in the NICU
  • their blood-sugar issues, Adrian’s heart issues
  • their torticollis/plagiocephaly that lead to helmet-wearing (blog post on helmets WAY overdue)
  • what seemed like endless visits to doctors and specialists
  • my struggle with efficiently nursing two babies
  • the stress and hard work required by exclusively pumping
  • feeling hopeless as we struggled to get the boys to sleep more during the night
  • the daycare search
  • the return to work
  • the fact that we were literally sending them to a daycare with people we have just met
  • the day-to-day challenges of being a full-time worker outside of the home and having a “2nd job” when the babies get picked up from daycare and are with us the rest of the night.

Then there was the joy:

  • the boys’ “graduation” from the NICU and finally coming home
  • their defeat of those medical issues and a decrease in doctor visits
  • my increasingly abundant milk production and frozen “stash” (I plan to do a breastfeeding/pumping post ASAP!)
  • the boys sleeping through the night UNDISTURBED from 7 pm to 5:45/6 am
  • discovering how much the boys enjoy their daycare provider and do really well there
  • capitalizing on opportunities at work to advance my career and enjoying my work life
  • going out with the boys to parties, the mall, walks to the park, and other realms of civilization outside of our house
  • truly enjoying the smiles, laughter, funny moments, precious cuddles, and overall fun we have with the boys
  • learning from other fellow moms, moms of twins/triplets, and also sharing my own knowledge and experience with new moms
  • gaining confidence as a new mom and parent
  • watching the boys thrive

Alright, I’ll put away the violins and talk about what the babies are doing now!

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AJ @ 1 Year

Adrian Joseph

Stats

Height: 2′ 7″

Weight: 20.6 lbs

Adrian likes to:

  • EAT! Not only does he eat almost everything offered to him, he can sit in his highchair for long periods of time and is patient. Unlike some other babies, not naming any names…
  • Climb on top of me
  • Smile in his scrunchy-nose-cheesy way
  • Talk. All the time! Getting louder and the syllables are more distinct
  • Throw things (he’ll throw a small ball in front of him)

He can:

  • Pull himself up to stand
  • Crawl the “right” way
  • Clap his hands
  • Wave bye (although he says “Da-da-da-da” while waving)
  • (Sorta) say, “Uh-oh!”
  • Climb stairs
  • Sip from a straw cup

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JT @ 1 Year

Jeremiah Tyler

Stats:

Height: 2′ 8″

Weight: 20.9 lbs

Jeremiah likes to:

  • Army crawl
  • Mimic a zombie (he does his “zombie voice” on command!)
  • Be carried or given ANY kind of attention. He’s our new divo.
  • Scream like a pterodactyl. He’s our Jerodactyl.
  • Climb over anything in his way, boppy, pillow, toys, me.
  • Cling to mommy or daddy
  • Use his binky… still!

He can:

  • Pull himself up to stand
  • Clap his hands
  • Point to certain things in a book
  • Hand things to me (book, toy)
  • Do all kinds of tricks with his binky (he’ll hold it in his mouth sideways, put it in his mouth without looking…)
  • Sip from a straw cup
Read more monthly updates HERE!
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Boys’ first birthday festivities: Sneak peek!

Celebrating their actual birthday on Friday, August 1st… supposedly National Twin Day?!?! Still looking for confirmation, but how cool would that be?
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Decorations for their carnival-themed birthday!
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Monthly photos compiled together:
wpid-20140802_131621.jpgGifts galore!
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Couldn’t wait to take out their radio flyer, which was a gift from Jer Bear’s Ninang (Godmother) Marie, Ninong (Godfather) Ellis, Kuya Eli, & Kuya Ethan! I will update this post with an AWESOME video clip the hubs took of the boys enjoying their new wheels.
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Well, it’s been one heck of a ride. This past year (plus the duration of the pregnancy!) was a true roller coaster ride. From here on out, I won’t be posting the “official” monthly updates, but I will certainly keep sharing tons of pictures and videos of the boys as they grow! Thanks for reading!

Motherhood: I heard, but I didn’t listen

I was warned about those early months.

Warned about the scary, ugly, yucky parts of being a mother and a parent that you don’t always see in the movies or dream about when you’re younger.

I heard everyone and what they had to say.

But I didn’t really listen.

Photography by Tammy Nguyen Le

Photography by Tammy Nguyen Le

I recently came across this article, “What Nobody Tells You About the First 3 Months of Motherhood.”

Even though I could relate to most of it, I didn’t quite agree with the title.

It wasn’t that nobody who told me any of these things. They sure did tell me.

In fact, it seemed like EVERYONE had advice for me, whether it was, “Get as much sleep as you can now!” or, “You’re life is gonna change!”

See, I heard them, but I don’t think I quite listened to them.

Or maybe I just didn’t realize how true those words were, or how exactly they would play out in my own experience.

Then, I went through it myself.

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And having SURVIVED those early months, I can now share my own take on the advice the author above wishes she knew in those early months of motherhood…

Continue reading

Daycare Update & “5 Ways Daycare is Supposedly Ruining My Kids”

In the beginning of our daycare search, I was filled with guilt. Guilt for not being able to stay at home with my babies, having to leave them in someone else’s hands, potentially missing out on milestones they hit, and overall just not being around for a majority of the days during the week. The anticipation of returning to work haunted me and I struggled with letting go. As a first-time parent, this was such a big deal for me and even though I received a lot of reassurance, it was way easier said than done.

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The boys sportin’ their super cool Wizards jerseys, their Dad’s 1a team

The boys have been in daycare for over three months now and they are doing awesome. When we drop them off, they are full of smiles and when we pick them up, they have even bigger smiles. We get good reports from their daycare provider. So far – knock on wood – they’ve really only gotten sick once and other times have just had a short run of sniffles or allergies.

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This is a frame my babies “made” me for Mother’s Day. I was teary-eyed because I was so happy and thankful their daycare provider is so sweet and thoughtful. Now my bare cubicle is so much more warm and fuzzy:

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With great timing, I came across this blog post from Ask Your Dad Blog: “5 Ways Daycare is Supposedly Ruining My Kids.” I couldn’t have laughed or cried harder. If you check out this post, you’ll understand how difficult it can be for first-time parents when faced with criticism and imposition from varying directions. I’m glad I found this article for not only a good laugh, but a reminder that the boys will be just fine.