The Ugly Truth about Parenting

Once you have have a baby, or know someone who’s had a baby, you learn that there are two sides to this parenting gig.

First, there’s the beautiful, sweet, loving, and picture-perfect side that is full of moments worthy sharing on Facebook or Instagram.

Second, there’s the truth.

The ugly, imperfect, chaotic, uncontrollable, disastrous truth.

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What the outside world may not realize is that the first side listed above, the one of beauty and wonder, those moments are often far and in-between the more long-term, persevering ugly truth.

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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.

The boys’ first 5K & my first Mother’s Day

My first Mother’s Day was lovely. I got a frame with my baby boys’ hand prints and a frame of one of my favorite pictures of us. I was so tickled that the boys “made” me something from daycare. And I love that I can see their little hand prints. I may be crafty, but I am not really into paints, so I’m glad daycare is good at that!

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Both frames are being displayed above my work computer! Finally some decor in that cube of mine. I also got a special journal that the hubby wrote inside and pasted pictures of the fours of us. It’ll be a tradition to fill the pages with memories each Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Soon the boys will be able to scribble inside and write letters and draw pictures themselves!

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And I can’t fail to mention the gorgeous watch that the hubby got me for Mother’s Day. It’s something I”ve wanted for a long time and he delivered! Loving my new accessory:) Thanks, babe!

sister - mom - me

sister – mom – me

We celebrated at Outback Steakhouse with my family. Look who joined the grown ups’ table!!! Adrian’s first experience in a highchair:

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Jer’s second time in a highchair (his first time was in Vegas):

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Both boys did great! We fed them puffs and they stayed calm (mostly). It was a big risk taking them to lunch at that time b/c they didn’t have much of a morning nap and the lunch coincided with their usual afternoon nap. But we always just roll with the punches and they did fine.

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Spend the rest of the day at Gramma’s house. Three generations right here. We are missing Mom’s mom in the picture:(

We participated in the annual Race for the Cure the day before. The boys’ first 5K! Hopefully they will enjoy running like their mama one day. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and this is one of the big events we make sure to participate in every year to support research and awareness. Here is our team… their sign is missing a letter… can you guess what it is?

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The boys are looking so grown and handsome. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself the day I realize they’re not my babies anymore. Well, they’ll ALWAYS be my babies, but I know one day they will insist they aren’t!

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We were pooped at the end. Walking 3.1 miles was a little harder than we thought! Especially pushing around a big stroller!

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Random picture of Adrian and one of the styrofoam letters. Yes, spelling lessons are starting early!!!wpid-20140509_175659_4_bestshot.jpg

Play pen training! I miraculously found time to pick my twin book back up and read that this is a good time to get the boys used to staying in a play pen (or Pack N Play as you see here). Once they taste freedom, they will not want to be confined. So rather than wait too late, I plan to get them used to playing and hanging out in this itty bitty space. It’ll come in handy when they ARE mobile and we need them to stay put long enough for us to get some serious work done around the house and not worry about what trouble they are getting into!

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This is how I get stuff done:

  1. Dump laundry out onto floor.
  2. Place laundry basket in front of babies.
  3. (Literally) throw toys into the basket from behind them.
  4. Make sure babies are amused and intrigued.
  5. Quickly fold laundry.
  6. Put laundry away before they get bored.

wpid-20140512_065745.jpgThe boys ate pretty well last weekend. I fed them an odd mix of avocado, carrots, and sweet potato, which I had cooked/pureed a few weeks ago and froze. This is TMI, but later that day, I saw carrots in Adrian’s poop! I can’t tell you how excited I was. It was so cool to me that he really did eat the food and that it made its way down his system. Ok, definitely TMI.

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The boys at their nine-month check up!!! We couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They have been through SO MUCH and here they are, 18.5 lbs each, 28 inches long, and super healthy and happy! These boys used to have a long list of medications, a ton of appointments scheduled, and some issues and medical conditions that really worried us. But now, a ton of things are resolved and really they just have their helmet wearing to endure a little longer. Otherwise, their pediatrician is extremely pleased with how they’re doing and we are just so grateful.

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Lastly, I want to share this video clip I took of the boys playing with their toys. Hope you enjoy it. Jeremiah is shown first, followed by Adrian. I love their grunting and Adrian’s scrunching cheesy face at the end!

 

A champ and the daycare search begins

Ah, my new morning routine. Good ol’ Trader Joe’s has me hooked on their Mocha Cappuccino. It’s so delicious and I limit myself to one cup a day (ok, sometimes two) and I drink right as I pump so I feel better knowing the caffeine isn’t going too much into the boys’ milk. By the way, isn’t this one cool cup? Got it from my sister🙂

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I just want to say, “WHAT A CHAMP!” to our Adrian boy. He had a doctor’s appointment last week that was really hard on him. I can talk about it now because he is in the clear – as a newborn, he didn’t pass his hearing test on his left ear, although he did on his right. He had a follow up test, which he failed again. He had yet another follow up test, but the test was incomplete because he woke up halfway through (he needed to sleep through it). He finally and one last attempt at a follow up test and I fasted him for 5 hours (I felt so bad!) and he did so well! So well, in fact, that he passed! Turns out that he was just backed up with wax/gunk (whoops, hope the womb wasn’t all to blame) and so his left ear, we are happy to announce, has normal hearing! He will still be followed up on his 1st birthday, just as a super safe precaution, but I’m so happy this is behind us. Baby boy has had so much to go through already and the battles still continue. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at him because he is such a happy, healthy, growing boy! Here he was before the appointment:

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Here he is as we were walking up to the hospital:

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And of course, I have to throw in a pic of Jeremiah because I missed him so much! Thanks to Granma who watched him as I brought brother to his appointment: 20131202_133334

Did you see those rolls, by the way?

We started crib training a week or so ago, and I’m so happy to report that the past two nights have been going really well! Ok, at least for one twin. But I’ll take it! Adrian has slept through the night for about 6 hours before needing a feeding. He is a champ two times! I know that there are things called sleep regressions, so this may not last forever. But in the meantime, I am not complaining. Adrian amazingly slept through Jeremiah’s cries of waking up during the middle of the night, multiple times! I really hope Jer can soon go through the night without needing to be soothed or nursed. It’s such a painful sight seeing 2 am, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am on the alarm clock! I steal Z’s any chance I get, but I’m afraid that I’m slowly starting to have trouble falling right back asleep. I’m delirious to the point that sometimes I wake myself up thinking I heard a baby cry, but yet there was nothing! I would also stare into the monitor, especially at Adrian, wondering if he is breathing or why isn’t he waking up. I need to seriously let that go. I also have a mind that just races ALL.THE.TIME. and it bugs the heck out of me. I write notes everywhere, wonder if I’m forgetting something, think of new things that I want to address or talk to someone about… I wish there was a switch to just turn my brain off. Anyway, here is my new TV soap during the night, Adrian on top and Jer on the bottom:

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I can’t believe four months have gone by already. At the beginning, it was 100% all about survival. It didn’t matter what the books said anymore or what my hopes and dreams where. The goal was just to keep these babies alive and happy and stay sane! Amazingly it is true that as time goes on, we would get better at this and learn our boys and their needs. We would gain confidence and make mistakes and learn from them. It’s a never-ending journey and so far, we don’t think we’re doing too bad!

On another note, I’m crossing my fingers and toes that we find a daycare provider soon. We had our first interview last night with an in-home daycare provider. Happy to say she seems great and I would trust her with our boys. But I’m equally glad we have 3-4 other providers to interview so at least we have options and can feel 100% sure with our final decision. Daycare is a whole other story… I’m feeling so anxious, worried, concerned, and all other kinds of mommy-guilt-anticing feelings that I drive my own self crazy. It’s not only hard to find an affordable place that is close to home and on the way to work with someone we trust and agree with in terms of child rearing and care, but to find availability for TWO infants is the ultimate challenge! Please wish us luck! While there is no one who would better take care of them except mama and papa, we will eventually have to leave them with someone so I hope she is the second best!