Baby Pics: Round 1

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A Quarter of a Year: Gone!

The 12th of July marked the three-month birthday of C & M, and what an insane three months they’ve been. From induction to c-section to homecoming to lactation consultants to families to jobs to pediatricians to nannies…it’s a lot of “real life” to cram into 13 weeks. Looking back, it’s a combination of feeling like things only happened a few days ago to feeling like we’ve been doing this forever.

One of our biggest milestones was reached last week; Kat went back to work, meaning that both of us are working full time and that the boys spent their first time since birth with someone other than family. Although we really like the nanny we hired, it was hard for both of us to leave the boys at home in someone else’s care. We survived the first week without too much heartache, but I think we’ll both be relieved when I work fewer hours and Kat begins working fewer, longer days and are both able to be with the twins more.

Our nanny will probably be leaving at the end of this month, as our new schedules won’t provide her with the hours she needs, so the hunt is on again for a very part-time sitter. I don’t mind saying I am entirely happy to let Kat man the helm on this task.

This first week of dual income earning also marked the first significant amount of time I spent as the solo caretaker of the boys, as I’m in charge from the time Kat leaves around 6:00 a.m. until the nanny gets in around 12:00 p.m. This typically involves me getting up to feed them around 8:30, changing and playing with them until 9:30 or so, and putting them back to bed for a nap while I attempt to shower, dress, eat, and do anything else I need to do before work. This part has only been partially successful; C, in particular, likes to get up earlier than he “should”, which sees me trying to get him back to sleep or entertain him until the nanny arrives. Still, we all survived, and I admit I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I’m looking forward to the upcoming weeks and months and years of care-giving.

Both boys continue to enjoy good health, and although we still haven’t made it off of the wait list to get an appointment with a physical therapist for M’s torticollis, his neck control and strength have been improving day by day. That said, he is still the first to smile, will probably be the first to laugh, and is working on mastering reaching for and grabbing onto specific objects. Today’s item of focus was daddy’s beard.

C is far ahead in the mobility department, lifting his head high and rolling over during tummy time and making the motions (if unsuccessfully) of crawling. He seems to be a bit ahead of the curve as far as three-month-old babies go, and we’ve been told that his knuckle-gnawing and sudden persistent drooling might even be signs of teething. It would be a bit early, but our kids are the beneficiaries of some awesome genes, so why not?

In case you missed it, Washington State is in the midst of its annual early summer heat wave, where temperatures usually reach the mid-nineties at most. In some parts of the country this isn’t that bad, but since we only get about a week of these temps, very few people have air conditioners, meaning our houses – designed to catch as much light as possible the rest of the year – can become sweltering boxes of misery. Our second floor hit the upper eighties the other day, and temperatures are expected to go higher. With twin babies needing their comfort level to stay somewhat steady, I spent time setting up an intricate network of fans to optimize airflow into and out of various areas as deemed appropriate. I even went so far as to tape aluminum foil over the “skylight” windows in certain rooms that let the sunlight come streaming in. I’m also in the final stages of a DIY “air conditioner”, the idea of which has become all the rage around here.

Our dilemmas on how to incorporate our desires (both personal and familial) and needs (both personal and familial) into our daily routine continue. New jobs for either or both of us would be a tremendous help, but who has time to apply? It helps my emotional well-being if I can get some writing/blogging in, but during the day when I have to choose between writing and errands/chores/baby care/meals/work/commuting/etc., the writing takes a back seat. Personally, I’d love to start working on getting healthier, but I don’t have time to work out and we both find that we run out of time to cook and prepare healthy foods, so we wind up with takeout or food from boxes or cans.

A quarter of the way through the boys’ first year. Wow.

Three months old!

Three months old!

Upcoming and the Fourth

This Sunday will be our nanny’s first official day on the job; it’ll be an orientation, as in “the diapers are here” and “cartoonish mousetraps will snap on your fingers if you reach into this drawer” type stuff. You know, the usual. After that, we’ll begin our transition to Kat working most weekdays, except some alternate days, and I’ll coordinate my work days with hers, and I’ll be home more, as will she, and we’ll have a nanny to fill the cracks. Scheduling fun!

I have just completed and we will soon begin playing some playlists on the iPod-friendly clock radio in the nursery that are customized for our little ones. I set up white noise playlists, lullaby playlists, classical music playlists, and combinations of thereof. We’re hoping we can “program” the boys with some specific music to let them know it’s time to sleep; a little Pavlovian action.

The Fourth of July has passed by without incident. Some people ad expressed concern that the boys might be distressed by the noise of the fireworks, but neither one noticed. I think we were not surprised as they don’t express much concern with noises in the actual house other than to sometimes turn their heads or wake up if sleeping.

I admit I am looking forward to future Fourths. I don’t pay much attention now, but I loved the holiday as a kid, signed declaration of independence (which was actually voted on on July 2) be damned! Kat didn’t grow up with much in the way of fireworks, but I loved the novelty stuff: little paperboard tanks that rolled and then fired canons, chickens that screeched and “painted” eggs onto the pavement, fountains, smoke bombs, those “snake” things that were black pellets that expanded into “snakes” of black ash when lit on fire…awesome. As I aged, I got more into explosives and mortars, and then realized how much it costs to buy stuff that will literally be lit on fire and detonated. Now I want to return to the paper chickens, only with my boys. Also I want to do the explosives with them because they’ll be in awe, and that’s sweet.

Stay tuned; Pictures coming soon! Sorting right now, and ideally I’ll have them up within the next week.

Updates, Week 10-11.5

In some ways, I’m shocked by how little our babies have changed in 2+ months. They’re still small, they still communicate by crying, they still can’t read and astrophysics is just outside of their comprehension.

That said, I’m amazed at how much they’ve changed since birth. C has filled out, no longer looks perpetually pissed off, has grown a good swath of hair, and can hold his head up (for a bit) and roll over (once, as of today).

M (who, BTW, retained his glorious patch of spiked-up birth hair) is holding his head up for longer than ever (as of today), is cooing and beeping, reaches out for us (though he doesn’t seem to know what to do when he grabs us), and has a vice-like grip. C managed a roll-over at just past 10 weeks, can hold his head up for longer and longer increments, and is making a mockery of the ages listed inside his clothes.

Both boys are following us with their eyes and heads, kicking their legs, and – best of all – smiling. C is the quickest to smile, especially when mommy is singing him the Alphabet Song. M is a bit more reserved, saving smiles for when you least suspect it, but unleashing them with a genuine glee that blows me away each time. (I’ve also discovered that tousling his hair usually elicits a smile.) Either way, damned if those smiles aren’t cuter than a hamster climbing into a fleece mitten while wearing a little bunny costume and nibbling on a candy heart that says “Hmstr Luv”.

Where was I…?

Oh, right, updates. Aside from those above, we’ve had a few things going on since my last post. (Author’s note: I’ve been trying to get this post written for about two weeks now, but, you know, busy with babies.)

I’m almost definitely going to go part-time at my job. I’m still looking for another local and/or WAH job, but until then, I am stuck where I’m at. After crunching some numbers though, and considering the cost of child care and commuting, it looks like we can (barely) cover expenses with me working PT. I’m looking at working three days every other week and four days the other weeks. This is still unconfirmed (technicalities at work need to get hammered out), but it’s looking like I’ll be a stay-at-home dad (SAHD) three or four days a week.

On our two-month pediatrician appointment, the boys were both in pretty good shape. The only concerns were M’s reflux and constant head-tilting to the right. Rice cereal was suggested to increase the viscosity of his formula, but we’ve reached an impasse as to whether or not to use it. The Internet seems to be pretty much split down the middle when it comes to using cereal at this age, and we’re erring on the side of caution. As for his neck, he was diagnosed with Congenital Muscular Torticollis, known in laymen’s terms as “scrunched neck from being crowded in the womb”. We’ll be seeing a physical therapist soon to straighten him out before he looks like he’s perpetually shrugging.

Vaccines were given, and C had a slight fever afterwards. Some people have concerns about vaccines causing autism or other problems, but we felt pretty comfortable both in getting vaccinations and in broadly labeling anti-vaxxers as total mass-hysteria suckers.

The question I get most at work is “Are they sleeping through the night yet?”. The answer is “no,” but they’re doing better than they were. They’re getting up less frequently, and when they do, a quick diaper change and or short feeding at the breast is usually enough to get them back to sleep without much fuss. They barely wake up to eat (if at all), and don’t start getting truly fussy until five-ish in the morning. We’ll see how this goes when Kat goes back to work and has to feed them early and get them back to sleep until I get up to take over their care before leaving them to the sitter or staying home myself. We had a practice run this past week, and it went mostly smoothly. Kat is all about schedules, and I’m all about letting them eat when hungry and sleep when tired, since they seem to do what they want anyway.

Speaking of Kat going back to work, yesterday (Monday, June 30) was her first day back, sort of a practice run before returning full time next week. I was in charge of the boys for a whole day, and I’m happy to say we all survived unscathed, if off schedule. Our bachelors’ day out took us to the mall, a sandwich shop, and a park for a bit of fresh air before ending at home where we waited for mommy to arrive. Considering it was her first day away since the boys were born, I think she did pretty well. I’m proud, in fact, that she wasn’t panicky, texting or calling every half hour, or sending me constant reminders of how she’d do things.

Once she goes back to work, we’ll have a sitter/nanny who we found on Care.com, a site for finding…well…sitters and nannies. Kat interviewed a few women, and after the first pick was unable to meet our scheduling needs, we called our (close) second pick, and she was able to work with us…at first. This was about the time we decided that I would be going to part time at my job. Add to that K’s new schedule which will allow her a day off and two days working in town each week, and we didn’t have the hours she was looking for. She’ll be taking care of the boys for the next month or so, but when I switch to part time, we’ll need to renegotiate or find someone new.

Today (Tuesday, July 1), Kat took the boys to Poma Fertility, the fertility clinic where we had our successful IVF to show them what a success their painful intrusions into our nethers had netted. I’m mentioning this mainly as an opportunity to plug Poma; you won’t find a nicer, more caring, more dedicated team of outstanding fertility experts anywhere. We felt then and feel now like part of a family, and if you’re in the greater Seattle area (or anywhere else; what’s the cost of a plane ticket at this point?) I couldn’t recommend any place more.

This also brought the fam within a few miles of my work, so they dropped in, causing an hour-long cessation of any sort of productivity. In perfect stereotypical fashion, a few men came by and nodded approvingly and mentioning that C looks like me before wandering off again, and every woman available crowded around to behold the fruit of our loins.

To be filed under “cherish every moment”, I offer the first (almost) two months of our babies’ lives. We’ve been elated, exhausted, happy, angry, sad, optimistic, drained, and more. We’ve cooed over our boys one minute and sobbed when they wouldn’t stop crying the next. We’ve bonded tighter than ever but also had fights. I’ve been more focused from the stress and more discombobulated from lack of sleep (and also that same stress). In this short time, every single aspect of our lives has changed. Long story short: HOLY CRAP!!! OUR BOYS ARE ALMOST TWO MONTHS OLD ALREADY!!! WHERE DID THE TIME GO??? Kat is going back to work in a few days, and someone we found on the Internet will be taking care of them. We won’t be spending as much time with them, and suddenly the last several weeks seem gone just like that. A portion of this time loss can be blamed on lack of sleep and the flurry of doctors, family, and periods of adjustment, but the bottom line is the warnings were true: it goes by so fast.