Thursday, 31 December 2009

Making the move

I had mixed feelings last night when we put E and A down for the night in the nursery rather than in our bedroom. I was actually quite surprised how sentimental I felt about having them in the room with us, and I really really missed them when I went to bed. I didn't realise how much I liked waking up and hearing them sleeping. On the flipside I'm very keen to reclaim our bedroom and it'll be lovely to be able to potter around our room in the evening with the light on, and read my book before I go to sleep.

Another dilemma we had was whether to sleep them in separate cots in the nursery (they sleep side-by-side in one cot at the moment, separated by a rolled up towel), but we decided to leave them together for now. One step at a time!

We toyed with the idea of having the monitor in our room, but as the nursery is right next door we decided to rely on hearing them naturally in the night. I woke to hear A chatting to himself about 4am and was getting myself ready to get up and feed him but he settled himself back to sleep and woke crying an hour later. He needed comforting a bit before I gave him his bottle - I'm not sure if he was upset about waking up and not hearing us sleeping? - but he was fine after that and greedily downed his bottle. Unfortunately E woke at the same time so Young Daddy had to get up too, but both babies settled back to sleep and amazingly didn't wake again until 8.15am - a record lie-in for us! I hope it wasn't because neither of us heard them crying earlier, but I'm pretty sure one of us would have stirred if one of the babies had been screaming. I'm totally prepared for the lovely lie-in to have been a one-off, but it was much appreciated today and I'm sure we'll get another one at some point in the future....

Present from Great Gran

One of the best presents the twins got this Christmas was these Taggies Take Along Taggie Hugs from their Great Gran (available from Kiddicare). I've often noticed that babies seem more interested in the labels on toys than the actual toy itself so the design of Taggies is perfect, with lots of labels in different designs. A and E love gripping and chewing the teether ring and the fleecy Taggie squeeks when squeezed. And I love it because it's machine-washable!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Chuckle brother

Mr A has discovered the giggles and it's giving us all lots of laughs. The other evening he had a little giggle when Young Daddy tickled him at bathtime, but last night he got a massive fit of giggles that had both Young Daddy and I crying with laughter! He often seems to have his happiest moments on the changing mat - I think he really likes the one-on-one attention in a quiet environment.

Raising genius babies

Young Daddy bought A and E the boxset of Baby Einstein DVDs for Christmas and we sat them down in front of Baby Santa on Boxing Day and Baby Beetoven yesterday. The loved it and sat through pretty much the whole thing. I always said that my children wouldn't be sat in front of the TV, but all those preconceptions have gone out of the window now we actually have babies. Now, anything that keeps them quiet is a welcome addition to the Young household! I will obviously be careful not to let them watch it too much, but it'll be really handy if it keeps them occupied long enough for me to do a couple of chores round the house.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Holding hands

 Mr A still resolutely ignores E when she tries to befriend him (she smiles and chats to him), but the babies have started to hold hands when they're close to each other now, which elicits a big chorus of 'aaaaahhhh', from those around them.

A white Christmas for E and A

Snow and ice didn't stop us making the journey up to County Durham on Christmas day to spend the day with the Young family. We had an amazingly quick journey - not many people on the roads at 5.45am on Christmas morning! The sun was shining by late morning when we arrived and the snowy views were absolutely stunning!

Predictably, E and A got the largest haul of presents under the tree and behaved impeccably all day, going down for their lunchtime nap in time for us to eat our lunch, and being very good-natured while we opened our presents. The only part of the day that they didn't enjoy was bathtime - I think it was one new thing too many for them. When they went down in the evening I was concerned that the long sleep on the journey up in the car would interfere with their sleep, but they did really well and each only woke once in the night. E even let Young Daddy give her her bottle at 11pm (I gave him my cardigan to drape over his shoulders so she could smell me and either that worked or she was just so tired she couldn't be bothered to argue!). The babies were in bed when we had a new dusting of snow, but it still means that their first Christmas was officially a white one.

Today was another gorgeous day and so we headed out for a walk in the snow this afternoon. Young Daddy and Uncle Sam took a baby each in the Baby Bjorns, and E and A both loved it, and stayed awake taking in the views for almost the whole time we were out. The fresh air also wore them out so they went down for an hour's afternoon nap, meaning their good moods lasted right up until bathtime (we opted to top and tail this evening rather than do a full bath, which seemd to work much better).

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Miss E leads 2-0

The battle of the bottle continued this evening. I smugly thought we'd regained the upper hand after I managed to put E down to bed after her bottle without having to breastfeed her to get her to settle. She fell asleep straightaway and I thankfully got into the bath, but less than 45 minutes later a familiar cry came through the monitor and though Young Daddy tried his hardest to rock her back to sleep, it wasn't until she'd had a couple of minutes on the boob that she settled again.

Young Daddy will get to spend a lot more time with A and E over Christmas, and hopefully that will mean we'll be able to crack E's clinginess. It's really easy for me to spend more time with E because I entertain her once she's finished breastfeeding, and Young Daddy and A do the same after he's had his bottle, but over the holidays we'll make sure to keep swapping babies!
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Scheduling nightmare

We committed the cardinel sin of twin care today by letting E and A start their day at significantly different times. Young Daddy got up with A at 6.30am this morning, and I tried to get some extra shut-eye while E slept - she didn't wake 'til 8.15am in the end. It was a bit short-sighted as I was then stuck with two babies on vastly different schedules for the day. E and A have been pretty well-behaved all day, but they have stuck to their normal routines (awake for 1.5-2 hours at a time and then a nap) which has meant that they haven't really slept or eaten at the same times all day - leaving me no time to myself.

On the upside, in a way I've quite enjoyed the day because I've had the opportunity to spend some really nice one-on-one time with both my babies. E and I had fun with Tuhami Mummy and baby Jacob when they popped round at lunchtime, and A and I had lots of smiles and laughs while E napped at lunchtime and this afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa Powell have always offered to look after one baby, while we spend quality time with the other but we've never really given the offer serious thought. I would definitely consider it after today so we'll have to plan in a time in the new year.

The life of Miss E

A while ago I wrote a post about E blowing a raspberry. Well it's now her absolute favourite thing to do! If she finds something funny or amusing she'll blow a big raspberry and some impressive bubbles. It's very cute, although the bubbles and dribble aren't so fun!
The cuteness makes up a little bit for her diva-like behaviour at the moment. She is going through a really clingy stage and doesn't like being held by anyone but Young Mummy (including Young Daddy), which is particularly annoying at this time of year when there's lots of socialising being done. We have also discovered that it's not the bottle she's refusing, it's being fed by Young Daddy! If I give her her bottle she'll feed happily, but the second I pass her to Young Daddy the screaming begins. We know we're going to have to have a big showdown with her sooner or later and not give in, but at the moment, sleep for us is so precious that we can't face doing it.

Another achievement by E this week was sleeping through. On Tuesday night she slept from 12.30 'til 7.30am which was a very very welcome surprise, as for the previous few mornings her wake-up time had been 5.30am, which definitely isn't a pleasant start to the day. This morning she woke up at 5.45am for a quick feed, but she settled back down and slept until 8.15am. Unfortunately this morning A decided that he wanted to get up at 6.30am (despite feeding at 4.30am). Oh the joys of twins!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bah humbug

I've got to admit that I'm not really feeling the festive spirit this year. Christmas can be stressful and busy at the best of times, but add two 15-week-old babies and a large dose of sleep deprivation and it really starts to take its toll. Suddenly the seemingly endless tasks such as putting up decorations, buying presents, wrapping presents, sending cards, and packing to go away all feel too much, and more than a little overwhelming.

I know I should revel in the twins' first christmas but they don't have the slightest clue that December 25th is any different to any other day!
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Miss E 1, Young Parents 0

Last night, E insisted on being breastfed at every feed. She took 60ml from the bottle when Young Daddy did the 11pm feed, but refused to take anymore and wouldn't settle until eventually he gave in and got Young Mummy out of bed to finish the feed on the breast (15 mins later E was happily asleep back in her cot).

So, this evening, Young Mummy took on the bottle challenge and successfully got E to have a full feed. But it wasn't enough for Young E. Young Daddy took over winding her (to get her away from the boob) and she cried, and cried, and cried. Well, she cried for 15 minutes until we gave up and offered her the breast, where she promptly had a 20 second comfort suck and then allowed Young Daddy to put her to bed! It's a habit we're going to have to break if I ever want a night of freedom, but we weren't quite feeling up to it tonight. So for now, E is winning the battle of the bottle, but we shall start working on new tactics and come back fighting...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas parties

We've had a full weekend of Christmas parties. Yesterday, Grandma and Grandpa Powell had their annual open house, and Young Daddy, E, A and I went along for the afternoon. The babies did pretty well, but E got a bit overwhelmed by the number of people. When I went upstairs with her to a quiet room she was all smiles, but grizzled when she was back downstairs and wouldn't be held by anyone else but Young Daddy or me. But we really enjoyed introducing them to lots of new people - it was lovely to be able to show them off.

It was an early start today, as E woke at 5.15am for a feed and then decided she really didn't want to go back to bed! Mr A rose at 6am to join her so Young Daddy and I have been feeling a little jaded all day, although E did give me her first ever proper chuckle to make up for it. We were back over at Grandma and Grandpa Powell's for our family Christmas celebration (we're off up north to see the Young family for Christmas itself). Great Uncle Brian and Great Auntie Irena were visiting from Oxford, and it was great to see Adam (A and E's first cousin once removed). We missed his wife Alex as she was poorly at home, but A and E are looking forward to meeting her in the new year.

It was a lovely day and A and E got some fab Christmas presents - our favourites include their sheepskin booties, and a JellyKitten comforter for A. And Grandma and Grandpa Powell and Uncle Will all did a fantastic job of helping with A and E - thanks guys!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Feeding update

I'm not going to dwell on a summary of this week as I don't want to come across as constantly negative. So instead of writing another post about what a terrible day I've had (!) I shall give an update on our feeding situation.

I'm still breastfeeding E during the day (she has formula overnight) and she has good days and bad days. She fed really well yesterday and the signs are good so far for today! Because her weight gain has slowed down a bit the health visitor suggested that I top up her afternoon feeds with some formula, but I don't think this is workable. If I try giving E a bottle during the day, she is highly unimpressed, and she's even less impressed if it contains formula (she gives me the 'are you trying to poison me, mummy?' look). So I'm just going to try to encourage her to feed as much and as often as she likes from the boob and see how we get on.

Mr A is now solely formula fed as of this week (Aptamil, using Tommee Tippee bottles). I had been expressing a couple of times every evening to have enough to feed him with during the day, but I've been so exhausted recently it just seemed like one thing too much. There have also been a few occasions overnight when E has refused the bottle completely and I've needed to breastfeed her instead, and if I've expressed lots in the evening I find I don't have enough milk left to do this. I thought I would find the decision to stop giving A breastmilk a harder one to make, but in fact I haven't stressed about it at all. He's had 14 weeks of breastmilk and I think really I deserve a pat on the back for persevering so long!

It will be really interesting now to see how their behaviour and weight gain differs now that A is formula fed. But I guess you will never know whether there would have been a difference between them anyway, regardless of what they are fed.....

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Smashing plates

Ok, I admit it, I lost it today. After over five relentless hours with no let-up (nothing could make my babies happy this morning) I had to resort to smashing some crockery in the kitchen so that I wouldn't smash the baby monitor to smithereens! Listening to E refuse to settle for her lunchtime nap was the final straw. I did lose it in true Young Mummy style though, and carefully selected a chipped plate and two mugs we don't use to hurl against the wall! I don't know if that level of thought makes it better or worse?!

Eventually the monsters went down for their nap and slept for two and a half hours. They were in a slightly better mood when they woke up, but unfortunately this was short-lived. So all in all I would say I've had better days!

The importance of naps

I had one of those days yesterday that kept veering between being terrible and being lovely! The morning definitely fell into the 'terrible' category. After the morning feed, I packed E and A into their car seats and we drove over to meet Uncle Will for the first time. He's back from New Zealand on a flying visit and I couldn't wait to introduce his new niece and nephew to him. Unfortunately E and A didn't seem so keen to make a good first impression and spent almost the whole time we were there screaming, or threatening to scream! I popped out to fill the car up with petrol, leaving E and A with Grandpa and Uncle Will, but apparently A cried the whole time I was gone. The problem was that neither of them had had a long enough morning nap so they were exhausted. They were also hungry but were too tired and wound up to feed properly so we were caught in a miserable cycle. Eventually I managed to calm A down enough to get some milk in him and then he settled for a nap. E was rocked to sleep by Grandpa.

I drove home, but the babies woke when I stopped the car and then both of them treated me to full-on red-faced incandescent screaming at the same time. It's been a while since I've had to deal with this, and it brought my sense of panic and distress back immediately. I had to sit both babies on my lap, with E propped up on a cushion while I fed A. Faced with them still grizzling I decided to go to Baby Clinic to get them weighed so at least I was out of the house.

They behaved really well at clinic. Mr A went first and then fell asleep in his car seat while I was getting E weighed. E was looking sleepy so once we were back in the car I drove around a bit to get her off to sleep, then parked up outside the house and read my Grazia until my feet and hands were going numb (oh the joy of looking after babies in the winter!). I was convinced they would wake when I carried them into the car but someone up there was smiling on me and they didn't stir. When they eventually woke up they were in a lovely, happy mood and we had no tears at all until bedtime.

It really does go to prove how much they need their naps. I'm sure that when they were kicking off it was because they were exhausted. I need to work extra hard to make sure they get enough sleep and then hopefully we'll all be much happier.

Monday, 14 December 2009

A takes a dive

I had every parent's worst nightmare this morning when I dropped Mr A. Yes, I dropped him on the floor. On his head. We were in the kitchen and I popped him in the car seat while I made up his bottle. I picked up the seat, but the handle wasn't locked in place properly so the whole seat tipped forward and catapaulted A out. His face hit the floor first, and he started screaming (which was actually a relief, silence would have been too awful). He was pretty unhappy but I think it was actually me who was more upset. Young Daddy reassured me he was ok and so I sat down to give him his bottle and he quickly calmed himself down to feed.

A red lump came up just above his eyebrow, and although he seemed ok, I wasn't sure if I should get him seen by a doctor. I phoned NHS Direct and spoke to a nurse who advised me to see the GP today if possible and luckily I managed to get an appointment for this afternoon. In the meantime I kept an eye on A, and if anything he seemed happier than usual. We saw the doctor and he was really laid back and put my mind completely at rest. He told me it's a rite of passage to drop your baby! Apparently he dropped his daughter from his shoulders! Anyway, he was totally happy that A was fine so I was a happy mummy again.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We hosted a Christmas party today for our NCT friends. Although it meant quite a lot of cleaning and baking (we didn't do a lot of food, but I baked some brownies, gingerbread Christmas trees and melting moments and then we also had mince pies and mulled wine), it's been nice to get the house cleaned properly and fully decked out for the festive season. Once we'd got the Legends of Christmas album playing and my Jo Malone pine and eucalyptus candle burning, I was definitely feeling the Christmas spirit!

As a little extra, I bought some Mamas & Papas baby socks from Ebay to make a stocking for each of the babies. We filled it with a candy cane, chocolate and the other sock. The looked really cute hung under the mantelpiece and everyone loved them. We even managed to get a picture of all the babies together.

Swaddling here to stay

We experimented again on Friday night with putting E and A to bed without swaddling them. Cue two hours of screaming! A eventually settled, but E just got more and more worked up until she actually made herself sick. As soon as we swaddled her she calmed right down and we were able to put her to bed five minutes later. We weren't keen on the prospect of repeating the experience after every night feed so we swaddled A as well after the 11pm feed and the rest of the night went better.

I think we'll be sticking with the swaddling for a while longer. A manages to get his arms out of his, but it's pretty clear that they both need to be swaddled to get themselves off to sleep, and I don't see any harm in it for now.
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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Get well soon Uncle Sam!

E and A's Uncle Sam is really poorly, so we all hope he feels much better soon. xxxx

Still makes me giggle

Last night Young Daddy was feeding A and I was feeding E, when E pulled off the bottle, blew a raspberry and then laughed at herself. It made me giggle so much, but I had to keep it in (it was a night feed so we didn't want to encourage the babies to wake up too much), so I had tears rolling down my cheeks  as I laughed silently. Hilarious!

Lovely legs

My friend Powell Mummy sent me the link to these fab kids' leg warmers today. Available from BabyKind, they can be used on legs or arms and are great as an extra layer for keeping warm, or to protect little arms and legs when babies start to crawl. There are some fab patterns - I'm a big fan of stars so I think Pop Diva is my favourite design. A and E might not be crawling yet, but it seems rude not to purchase some, right?!

Ideal Home office visit

All my practise trips up to town paid off yesterday when E, A and I visited the Blue Fin Building to say hello to my friends at Ideal Home magazine. The train journey up there went really smoothly and we even had time for a bit of shopping in Tate Modern before meeting some of the team for lunch in Leon. Ellie and Bethan kindly helped out by giving A his bottle while I attempted to feed E. Unfortunately she was in one of her 'I don't want to eat' moods, and didn't feed well at all (think there was too much going on around us - lots of distractions!). This meant that she won the Grumpy Baby Award when we went up to the office to see everyone, and grizzled lots (not very nice in an open plan office!). Mr A behaved much better though, and was happy to be passed around so plenty of people could get their baby fix!

Both babies slept on the way back to City Thameslink station, and then, for the second time, E decided that she had to be fed immediately. I couldn't believe I was breastfeeding again on the platform, giving the city boys an eyeful once more! At least it meant both babies were quiet on the train home....

Monday, 7 December 2009

Domestic goddess wannabe

I've made a discovery this week - E and A will happily sit in their bouncy chairs in the kitchen while I cook or clean as long as I keep chatting to them. It sounds obvious, but this is really the first time I've been able to get on with something independently while the babies are awake! I don't have much time to think about recipes etc though, so this week I've made a chicken casserole, a big vat of bolognaise sauce and some surprisingly delicious chocolate brownies. Surprising because I realised once I'd started cooking that I was missing some of the ingredients so I had to ad lib a bit! But the end result was yummy and has fulfilled my much-needed late afternoon cake fix for a few days...

E's favourite toy

E is absolutely obsessed with the Gardenbug Wrist Rattle from Lamaze. The one she loves has the green face and orange wings, and if you put it on her wrist she just sits there and smiles and chats to it endlessly. Today I attached it to her car seat, and she fixed her gaze on it and smiled and cooed. It's great that it's such a small toy, as I think it's one I will definitely be adding to the keepsake box.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Who ate all the pies?

A weighs more than E! Having started off 1lb 7oz lighter than E, he now weighs 11lb 5oz and she's 11lb on the nose. I suspected as much, as I was sure he felt heavier, and I was right! I waited around to see the Health Visitor after having the babies weighed as I'd stored up a couple of questions...

A couple of nights this week, A has woken up a couple of hours after we've put them down to bed. There's no warning to him waking up, he has just started screaming at the top of his lungs, which is quite scary, and Young Daddy and I sprint upstairs to check everything is alright. We just need to hold him for about five minutes and he slowly calms down and then you can put him back down in his cot and he's back to sleep. It's really weird and is almost like he's having a night terror. The health visitor says it's probably a colicky pain that he feels suddenly, so we're going to give him Infacol again before the 6.30pm feed (we used to give Infacol at every feed but didn't think they needed it anymore).

I also asked about whether we should continue to swaddle A and E when they go to bed. The health visitor said not to, as they want to move around more now so last night we put them down in Gro-bags (baby sleeping bags) instead of their swaddle blankets. They woke up less than two hours later though, and the only thing that would calm them down was swaddling, and then they went straight back to sleep, so for now the swaddling is staying!

Although A's weight is really good, E's growth has slowed down, which is a bit of a worry. I breastfeed her during the day, whereas A takes expressed milk in a bottle, so I'm less sure how much she's taking when she feeds. She's been really fussy this week, and I've thought she probably isn't getting enough. It's really hard because she is much more patient than A and when he kicks off at feed time (which inevitably he does) I often focus on him, probably to the detriment of E. So it's a bit of a wake-up call to make sure I give her enough time and attention and really encourage her to take more at each feed.

I also think I need to be more aware of what I'm eating and drinking to make sure I'm producing as much milk as possible, as I've felt that my supply's been a bit low this week. I have a really good evening meal, but I don't think I'm eating enough at the start of the day as I'm always so busy I hardly have a chance to stop. I reckon I need to up my breakfast calories, add in a mid-morning snack and make sure I eat a decent lunch. I'm also going to drink more water during the day, as I reckon I'm probably quite dehydrated. Hopefully this will increase my milk supply. That should mean E is less fussy when feeding, and hopefully she'll drink more and her weight will pick up again.

So I had pie and chips for lunch, and I don't feel in the slightest bit guilty!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Alien abduction

I got up with A to feed him at about 2.45am this morning and there was a really weird noise. At first I thought it must be next door's washing machine on its spin cycle, but it got louder and louder. I think it must have been a helicopter but it was so loud it had to have been flying really low, and I couldn't see anything when I looked out of the window. It hung around for ages, until I thought that A and I were going to be abducted by aliens! Obviously Young Daddy thought I was a complete loon when I told him about it - I almost gotvhim up, but I didn't think he'd appreciate a 2.45am wake-up call!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Making friends

E and A have been pretty oblivious to each other’s existence up until now, but they are definitely starting to notice each other. The other day, Young Daddy and I held the babies up to each other. Mr A resolutely looked away, but E was mesmerised and stared at A with a curious little smile on her face. Then A let out a cry and E burst into tears. Bless! But since then they are showing a lot more interest, and even A is looking at E now. It’s really sweet, and I can’t wait until they start interacting even more.

Ridiculous baby gym class

When I went along to the Lewisham-run twin club the other week with my fellow twin mum, Helen, we were encouraged to give the Baby Gym sessions a go, so we took ourselves there this week. I caught a glimpse of the room through the door, and immediately asked if the session was suitable for young babies. After being assured that it was, and that young babies attend all the time we both woke our babies and got them out of their pushchairs (Helen's twin girls are five months old). Once inside, I took in the small climbing frame, ball pond and trampoline and immediately realised the class was far from suitable for my little ones! There weren't even any mats to put the babies down on, just a few cushions dotted around for mums to sit on. Helen and I stayed just long enough for me to feed E and to avoid a heavy downpour outsidee and then we made a hasty getaway. Needless to say we won't be returning!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Christmas countdown

I love this calendar by Noix de Coc' (available from Bodie & Fou), but I don't have the spare pennies right now to treat myself to it. I think I might make my own version. I sent out flat-packed cake boxes with my wedding invites so that guests could bring their own fairy cakes, so I'll order some of the same boxes and they can be decorated. I'll be missing the cute wooden sticks but hey ho.


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