Creating and maintaining a schedule is difficult on its own. Doing so with a baby is even more important, and even more complicated. Scheduling for twins is doubly important and exponentially more difficult. Like, almost impossible. They need to invent a new form of math to actually show the increased difficulty in keeping your family on task when twin babies enter the mix. I would call it Twinsics. Or maybe Twinulus.
Keeping the boys on a mutually consistent sleep schedule has – at least for this distracted dad – proven to be an elusive goal. When one is sleepy, the other is wide awake, and often has to be taken into another room in order to prevent his cries, grunts, and verbal musings (like on whether Wagner’s music should be viewed through the lens of his probable National Socialism or allowed to stand on its own) from waking the other. When they do both take naps, at least on my watch, the naps tend to come on randomly, despite any amount of planning or staging on my part. The morning naps, which are ideally 1-2 hours, tend to last around 40 minutes, and afternoon naps, which ideally last from 1-3 hours, average about the same.
Kat and I have been looking at what I might be doing differently when I have the boys alone. While some days are fine, I often find myself in a battle with one or both boys as they fight off the sleep they very visibly need.
Granted, both boys recently started teething (at four months; a little early, but whatever), and the discomfort has thrown their sleep patterns out of whack. Before that, though, I seemed to have a more difficult time than Kat or the sitters getting the boys to go down at a reasonable time and stay asleep for a reasonable amount of time.
I think my biggest problem when handling the boys is a lack of patience. No, I don’t get frustrated, lock them in a closet, and go to a movie (yet), but after a bit of trying and failing to get them to sleep, I do a quick cost-benefit analysis. I reckon that if they’re going to be up anyway, I might as well let them be up and get some stuff done. Otherwise I just sit there, singing a lullaby to a fussy baby and stressing out about all the stuff I could be doing during that time. So, I tend to give putting them to sleep a go for a while before throwing my hands up and keeping them entertained while I do chores or pound my head on a keyboard trying to remember what I was working on.
So step 1 will be for me to spend a little more time working on getting the boys to sleep before calling it a failure. As far as keeping them asleep once they’re there, well, I’ll cross that bridge later, I suppose.
Kat did hook me up with some good articles on getting babies to fall/stay asleep by MODGBlog, The Sleep Lady, and Parents Magazine, as well as a piece on the “2-3-4 Schedule” via Alpha Mom. This schedule says babies should take their first nap two hours after they first wake up, their second nap three hours after they wake from their first nap, and be asleep four hours after they wake from that nap. I think this is what we’ll be shooting for, but at this point, I’m really willing to settle for “some” sleep during “parts” of the day.
I’d be lying if I said that times like today, when both boys were refusing to go to sleep on mommy’s watch, didn’t give me a slight sense of sadistic joy. It seems that it isn’t just me; it’s just mostly me.
Any thoughts/tips on getting babies (esp. twins) to sleep on time and stay asleep as long as they should? All ideas are welcome.