Monday, April 23, 2007

Drowning in a sea of green snot....

Well, it finally happened...I knew it would. Cole and Bella both caught colds and passed it on to Garrett and Landon. I'm so sad that my babies are just barely 6 weeks and already have their first cold. I prided myself on the fact that Cole and Bella didn't have their first cold until around 13 months. So I've been sucking noses with the nasal aspirator left and right and if I never see another booger or stream of green snot I'll die a happy woman. And what really sucks about the babies being sick is that they can't have any medicine to relieve their symptoms...we can't even use those wonderful vapor plug-ins that we use with Cole and Bella. Our only options are saline spray and the humidifier....hopefully everyone will be back to health soon (just soon enough for Tim and I to get sick....)

Our pedi appt the other day went well. Landon is 8lbs,6oz and 20.5 inches long. Garrett is 7 lbs and 19 3/4 inches long. Both growing like weeds! Landon is finally on the charts, in the 5th percentile for weight, while Garrett is barely on the chart but the pedi said no concerns since he's gaining weight appropriately. Dr C measured Garrett's hemangiomas and noted that they have grown considerably since he saw him last. He measured them again and noted it in the file and said he wants us to continue to measure it every 2 weeks and he may have to make a referral to dermatology at some point. I still think it's so strange how 2 of my kids have hemangiomas....I mean, it's supposed to only happen to 1 in every 50 children. How did it happen to 2 of mine? It's really not such a bad thing in typical cases but the only experience I have with hemangiomas is what we went through with Bella, which was traumatizing for both her and us.

The boys seem to be doing well on the soy formula, although it stinks horribly and I'm sure it doesn't taste great but they eat it. What do they have to compare it to, other than breast milk? Landon eats between 3-4 ounces every 4 hours and Garrett eats 3 - 3.5 ounces per feeding. At night, they are sometimes able to go more than 4 hours between feedings. Hopefully it won't be long until they're going 5-6 hours and then even longer....I keep reminding Tim that this period is only temporary. Soon they'll be going to bed at 6:30 pm for 12 hours straight and we'll be able to relax in the evenings and sleep through the night again. I'm trying really hard to focus on the positives of the newborn stage and enjoy it as much as I can because I know all too well how quickly it passes.

Landon has now graduated to the Size 1 diapers, while Garrett is still in the newborn size. Bella barely fits in the Size 6 diapers so some of the time I just put a pull-up on her b/c they fit better. I have to laugh....I have 4 kids in 4 different size diapers. The whole potty training thing is still slow going....most of the time I'm just too tired to deal with it. Cole and Bella have been asking to sit on the potty but then they just unravel the toilet paper and flush it down the toilet....I won't even mention how many times I've had to unclog the toilet in the last couple of days. Their favorite activity is to poop in their diapers and tell me about it immediately (so the poop doesn't get smushed) and then they like to empty the poop out of their diapers into the toilet...there's a whole ceremony involved. First, they poop and come running to me to let me know, then they insist on taking their diapers off. They each have to examine their poop to note the color and how big it is (they also like to comment on how stinky the other's poop is compared to their own)...then they march into the bathroom and proceed to dump their poop into the toilet, wave goodbye to it and flush the toilet, along with a whole roll of toilet paper. Oh, to be 2 years old again and find such joy in this kind of activity....makes my life seem so complicated.....

So today I was feeling a little burnt out after feeding the babies and having to suck snot out of their noses every 5 minutes so they could try to eat...Landon puked 3 times (and we're not talking a little spit-up...we're talking huge projectile puking where it comes out the nose as well as the mouth). After a couple hours, I said to Tim "I'm going to the store"....and I left. I had to go to Payless Shoes and get Bella a new pair of shoes anyway and I figured I'd hit Target and the grocery store as well. The whole drive over there, I felt so guilty, knowing I didn't plan on coming back to help Tim with the 3:00 pm feeding. Then I walked into Target and instantly had that "the world is my oyster" kinda feeling as I stood at the entrance, realizing I had NO children with me, NO diaper bag on my shoulder, NO double stroller to push....I was on my own....I walked slowly up and down every aisle, taking the time to actually look at prices before I placed stuff in my cart. Usually I'm in such a hurry to get all the stuff we need and get the hell out of the store that when I get to the register and the checker says "your total is $245.00", I'm stunned that I've bought THAT much stuff. And most of the stuff isn't even stuff I put in the cart...Cole and Bella apparently have developed a knack for grabbing anything their little hands can hold and throwing it into the cart. And I'm too busy keeping them away from all the candy, gum and toys that sit at the checkout counter to notice what's being scanned.

So anyway, I strolled aimlessly around the store and what's most funny about this is that I ended up buying tons of stuff for the kids....some new clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, formula....I can't remember the last time I bought something for me and only me, except for a blowdryer because the one I had for the last 2 years finally died on me (I found this out when Bella wanted me to dry her hair after a bath one night). The biggest joke about that was I don't even have time to dry my hair these days BUT on the occasion that I actually DO have time, I want to be prepared with a blowdryer that works. Yes, I dry my children's hair but I don't make time to dry my own....who cares if I look like crap as long as my children look clean and well groomed....

I don't know even know where I was going with this post, honestly.....it's 9:30 at night and I really should be in bed, getting some much needed sleep before the babies' next feeding....yeah, that sounds good.....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've discovered the best diet secret in the world....

.....and it is, have four children, 2 and under....seriously, I'm dropping pounds left and right without any effort at all. I'm eating horribly...a cookie here, a tablespoon of peanut butter there...anything that is quick and easy and can take away the hunger pains for a little while until I can get someone fed, someone diapered, someone dressed or whatever needs to be done at that time. I was finally able to start wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes just this week...yeah!!! And the best thing about it was I haven't made any effort to lose weight...the weather has been yucky so I can't take the babies on walks and eating healthy...well, that just takes too much effort to think about right now so I'm settling for whatever I can reach and grab, eat and swallow within 5-6 bites.

How are things going? Do you REALLY wanna know? Well, I will say that things are a little easier with Garrett and Landon in the sense that we know what we're doing this time around....we're careful not to make the same mistakes we did with Cole and Bella. Sometimes it works, sometimes not but we're not stressing about it. And I think that Garrett and Landon are a lot more relaxed as babies than Cole and Bella were because we're not stressing over every little thing. I actually laugh out loud to myself when I realize that the babies are almost 6 weeks old and we haven't gotten off track with our schedule ONCE...not one time!!!! They still eat every 4 hours and at night, we've been so desperate for sleep that I've stopped setting my alarm to wake them up every 4 hours. At 3:00 am, if they're still asleep, I lay back down and try to catch some more zzzzz's. They usually wake up here and there throughout that time but we're able to get them back to sleep and it doesn't seem to be hunger that wakes them up. We were killing ourselves making sure they were eating every 4 hours at night but we kinda started realizing that the babies were too tired to eat and it was so frustrating....so one night we waited for them to wake up on their own (Landon woke up first and we woke up Garrett) and the feeding went perfectly! They were both hungry and excited to eat....such a far cry for how things had been. During the day I do wake them up every 4 hours no matter what and they eat at the same time....it's working out well so far.

We have a dr's appt tomorrow so I'm anxious to see how much the boys weigh...I can tell Landon is gaining weight, as he feels very heavy to me. He has such pudgy cheeks now. Garrett still feels light as a feather so hopefully he's gaining weight. His hemangiomas are growing and getting puffier, which makes me very nervous, but so far they aren't bleeding and they don't seem to be bothering him so we'll just continue to keep an eye on them for now.

As for Cole and Bella, well, things with them aren't going so smoothly. Their behavior is getting more and more negative....I've been trying my best to let the little things go and spend more quality time with them. Fortunately, though, they are very kind to the babies but they forget they need to be gentle. Bella will give the babies a hug and squeeze their little heads and I have to remind her to be very careful. She loves to help and I had her help me change their diapers the other day....she took one look at their tiny boy parts and said "ooooh, they have pirates too" (she calls "privates" by the word "pirates").

However, I am clearly drowning here....still trying to figure out how to juggle all 4 kids. I don't know how other moms do it. On Monday, I was with the kids at my mom and stepdad's house but I was still feeling very overwhelmed with all 4 kids and that was WITH help!! Tim had a soccer game that night so our babysitter came over for a few hours to help and I was still overwhelmed....as she left she said she was exhausted!!! And just as I shut the door behind her and started to breathe a sigh of relief to finally have some peace and quiet, Cole and Bella started crying "Mommy, Mommy" and it lasted for 2 hours....I kept running up and down the stairs between them and the babies....and finally I told Cole and Bella they HAD to go to sleep and I was not coming back up the stairs unless one of them was dying...they continued to cry and scream bloody murder. I had forgotten the window was open in the loft and someone knocked on our door, yes...at 9:15 at night...and I was sure it was one of my neighbors coming by to make sure I hadn't passed out and left my kids unattended or to make sure I hadn't locked myself in the van in the garage with the engine running after hearing all this crying/screaming coming from our house for 2 whole hours. I didn't answer the door, more out of embarrassment than anything else....

The only thing that got me through that evening was knowing Cole and Bella had preschool the next day....but when Bella woke up, her right eye was all red and puffy and crusty....PINK EYE!!! Is this God's idea of a cruel joke??? Clearly, she couldn't go to school. We had eye drops left over from the last time she had pinkeye and Tim said "let's just send her to school and tell them that she's been treated for 24 hours already" and I said "While I would love to do that, we'd be upset if another parent did that with their child and then our child caught pinkeye so she probably better stay home". And of course Cole didn't want to go to school if Bella wasn't going....when we told him Bella had to stay home because she had pinkeye, he said "well, my eyes are blue".....I think that was the only time I laughed that day. Oh and then he told me that my eyes were black and when I said "no, they're brown", he said "the color of poop"....lovely. He couldn't think of anythign else that was brown in color other than poop....

By 9:00 am, I was ready to kill someone or throw myself into oncoming traffic...Cole and Bella were fighting with each other, the babies were crying....then my sister called "just to say hi" and I told her after the night I had had the night before with the kids and the day that lay ahead at that point, I was ready to go sit in my van in the garage with the engine running....she said "oh, no...don't do that" so I assured her that I was only kidding...I wouldn't really do that...although it did sound like an excellent way to avoid all the chaos....maybe I could just slice my finger "accidentally" with a knife and get to spend the day in the ER....that might sound hellish to some people but it sounded like a VACATION to me! Obviously she sensed the desperation in my voice and said "I can come over and help for a little while".....I practically climbed through the phone to hug her. She left right as they were eating lunch and for some reason the rest of the day went pretty smoothly....it probably had more to do with my attitude than anything else. Things probably weren't that bad to begin with but I had no patience left in me.

Well, as much as I could go on and on writing more, another 4 hours has passed and it's time for the babies to eat....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Identical or fraternal?? That is the question.....

Well, we finally know...and the funny thing is that Tim and I haven't been that concerned about it but other people are always asking us if the boys are identical or fraternal and when we say "we don't know", they look at us as if we're stupid or something. I mean, I think people actually expect us to know something like that, as if I have a way to see inside my body to know if it was one egg that split or two separate eggs. Fortunately, my OB who delivered the boys sent the placenta up to the lab for tests and I finally remembered to call the neonatologist at the hospital to ask him if they had the results yet. He called me back yesterday and said the tests showed that the boys are fraternal (90% chance when compared to them being identical). I was starting to suspect that they were fraternal because even though they look very much alike, they're coloring is different...Garrett has Tim's coloring, he's got reddish-blonde hair and pale skin while Landon has my coloring, olive skin with dark hair. Although I still get them confused from time to time...last night, I went to bed early to catch up on some zzzz's, only to be interrupted by Tim at 10:00 pm desperate to be rescued from two screaming, unhappy babies. I grabbed one baby and sat in the rocking chair and for a good 10 minutes, I thought I was holding Garrett but then I noticed his outfit and wondered when I had dressed him in that sleeper and that's when I realized it was Landon. I just assumed I had Garrett because he's our fussy twin...Landon is usually very laid-back and happy as a lark. This is horrible but we've started calling Garrett "Dr Evil" and Landon "Austin Powers"....that is the best way to describe them.

Okay, so here's how the formula merry-go-round ride is going....after another horrible night of fussing and gas (the babies, not me and Tim), Tim and I decided to just go for the switch and move them onto soy formula. So far, so good....it smells putrid and the boys are not wild about the taste but they do seem much calmer after having 3 soy formula feedings so far. Still have some gas but it's not as bad as it was the last few weeks. Dare I hope that we have solved the problem....I suppose it's too early to tell. My next move is switching bottles...so far, we've gone from the volume feeders in the NICU to Avent bottles to Playtex nurser bottles. My next move will be the Dr Brown's bottles. I remember feeling such relief when we finally found the perfect formula/bottle combination for Cole and Bella...it took weeks but I was so thrilled when it all finally clicked! So I have to keep reminding myself that is only temporary and there is light at the end of the tunnel....we will find something that works. In the meantime, I'm continuing to pump but I'm slowly cutting out pumping sessions to dry up my milk....I just can't keep up with it anymore and I feel bad about spending so much time doing it when I could be spending that time with the boys or with Cole and Bella. The odd thing is I'm actually getting more milk now...go figure....but then again my body has always gone against the norm. They say the more empty your boobs are, the more milk you'll make....but not me....no...the more full my boobs are, the milk I make. In the last 24 hours I managed to only pump 4 times and I got 12 ounces of milk. So I'm just freezing it for now until we get the formula issue worked out and then I'll introduce the breast milk back in to their diet and see how that goes....

Onto Cole and Bella....as I type, they're supposed to be in bed but Tim and I can hear and see them on the video monitor having a conversation.

Bella: Cole....hey Cole....are you awake?
Cole: Yeah, are you awake?
Bella: Yeah
Cole: Wanna play with the babies?
Bella: Landon and Garrett?
Cole: No, the baby dolls
Bella: Yeah
Cole: (gets out of bed and goes over to the toy box)
Bella: You better get back in bed....
Cole: No...
Bella: Cole, get back in bed....

This is the point where Tim walked into the room and told them both to get back in bed....then Tim leaves the room...the conversation continues....

Cole: Hey Nutty (this is a nickname we have for Bella, as embarrassed as I am to admit it...it's short for her other nickname "Peanut")
Bella: Yeah....
Cole: Do you got your baby?
Bella: Yeah...hey Cole, I pooped....
Cole: You pooped?
Bella: Yeah....

Tim hears this on the monitor and goes back up to the room to change her....he can't seem to find Cole though, even though we can hear his voice. He's hiding under Bella's bed...

Cole: Hey Daddy, I peed....
Tim: Okay, I'll change you and then you're both going to sleep...
Cole: Okay
Tim: It's bedtime and both of you need to go to sleep...I'll stay here for 5 minutes and then you both need to be asleep...


They both proceed to stall..."where's my blanket?", "where's my baby doll?", "I need water", "it's too dark in here", "where's the flashlight?", "what's wrong with Cole's eyes?"......and the whole time I can hear Tim saying "shhhh, shhhh".....now, Cole is telling Tim that he can't see and Bella keeps asking what's wrong with Cole's eyes....oh yes, it's gonna be yet another fun night in the Gaither household....

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let's take a ride on the formula merry-go-round...and other fun things to do....

So once again we find ourselves on the formula merry-go-round, trying to find something that will help Garrett and Landon with their gas. By Monday morning, Tim and I had finally concluded that we couldn't keep the boys on Neosure anymore. Garrett has terribly painful gas and pretty foul-smelling runny poop...Landon has gas but he doesn't seem to be as bothered by it as Garrett is. I know the Neosure is good for them b/c they are preemies but I'm not willing to watch my kids suffer. Our pedi had suggested switching to soy formula but b/c the Lactose-free formula worked so well for Cole and Bella, we decided to try that first before going right to soy. We have to make the mixture equal to 22 calories so that was kind of a pain in the butt to figure out....and let me just say for the record, trying to count scoops of formula while extremely tired is never a good idea. Right in the middle of counting scoops, I forgot which number I was on....so then I sat there trying to decide if I should dump the batch I was working on or suck it up and assume I was on scoop #4. Because of the horrible "mommy guilt" I constantly suffer from, I decided to dump the batch and start counting scoops in a separate bowl instead of dumping it directly into the container of water so if I lose count again (and I will...) I can just dump the formula back into the cannister and start over without losing a whole batch of ready-made formula.

After the first feeding, things seemed to be going well....the boys were great with accepting the new formula, even though it smelled pretty foul. They didn't seem to notice the difference. But sure enough, 2 hours later Garrett was red in the face and all balled up into the fetal position and squirming and grunting in pain. Tim declared "oh just great...the formula isn't working...". I think he expected it to be the "miracle formula" and see great results from it immediately. Nope, doesn't work like that, buddy...so sorry. I told him it would probably take 3-4 days before we noticed a change. So now the boys have been on it for almost 2 days and the gas doesn't seem to be as bad....it's still there but Garrett doesn't seem to be in as much pain as before. And his poop looks better (OMG, did I really just write that???)....his poop on the Neosure was runny and green but now his poop is more like a yellow color with more consistency to it (again...OMG, am I really writing about the color and texture of my kid's poop??) I called the pedi's office today to see how long we should give the new formula before deciding if it's really working or not....Dr C is on vacation so I spoke with one of his partners. He said give it until Friday and if it doesn't seem to be helping, switch to soy....so there we have it...we have a plan. Oh, the formula merry-go-round is such a fun ride....

Other than that, I'm a little saddened that Landon no longer fits into his preemie clothes anymore. He's now in the newborn-sized clothes. And when I go to pick him up, I can actually feel his weight now....it makes me sad that he is growing so fast. And even Garrett is starting to pack on the weight...he actually has a double chin now. They're both starting to recognize my face and voice now...the other day when my stepdad was here, he was holding Landon and when I started talking, he turned towards me and my stepdad said "oh, he hears your voice". And when I'm holding them, I hold my face real close to theirs and they just stare at it. I'm noticing that their eyes are lightening up a bit...no longer a dark shade of grayish/blue but now a medium-dark blue. I was thinking their eyes would be brown but looks like they'll be blue-eyed kids, like Cole and Bella.

Speaking of Cole and Bella, those two continue to push my buttons every day. Last night, I was feeding Garrett and Bella wanted....no, wait...she needed my attention. That's what she said "Mommy, I want you...." and I said "Bella, can you wait a minute?" and she said "No, I NEED you" (emphasis on the word 'need').... Again I told her I had to finish feeding the baby and she didn't like that and proceeded to do things that she knew would set me off, like play with the babies' swings, sit in their bouncey seats, turn up the volume on the tv and run away with the remote....oh and the other night I found her holding Garrett all by herself!! I had gone upstairs to pump and Tim was downstairs with Cole and Bella and the babies. He must have moved Garrett into the Papasan chair and then he went into the laundry room to change Cole, leaving Bella alone with the babies. I came downstairs to find her cradling him in her arms and I immediately yelled "Bella...stop...freeze right where you are". I was so afraid she was gonna drop him or lose her balance holding him. I ran over to her and helped her hold him and she said "Baby wants to sit with me"....apparently, her plan was to have him sit on the couch with her. I'm not sure how she planned to get up on the couch, while holding him in her arms, but the thought really frighened me. And poor Garrett was totally unaware the whole time of how close he came to being dropped on his head...he just sat there looking at both of us like "anyone got a boob they can pop in my mouth?".

I had my mom's housecleaner come over today to clean our disgusting mess we call a home. The ironic thing about it was I was running around this morning like a chicken with my head cut off trying to clean the house for HER!!! There was clutter everywhere...laundry baskets all over the place with clean laundry awaiting to be folded and put away, used bottles sitting by the sink, the kids' breakfast dishes were still on the table, toys everywhere, baby blankets, bibs and spit-up rags all over the floor....I was so sure she'd walk in and take one look at the place and either leave immediately saying we don't pay her nearly enough to conquer this mess or tell me we'd need to double her pay for today. But she didn't, she just smiled her polite smile and said hello to the kids and went about cleaning. And she cleaned like a mad woman, never even stopping to eat lunch....I saw her running around from room to room, all out of breath trying to get every room clean before her time was up. Now our house is clean....I told Tim he better enjoy it for the next few hours b/c as soon as Cole and Bella come home from preschool, the house will be dirty again. It never lasts for long....all good things must come to an end, as my dad used to say.

So with that, I better sign off.....and figure out what to make for dinner....why can't I be rich like Oprah and have my own personal chef?????

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Why severe sleep deprivation and reasoning with a 2-yr old toddler is a deadly combination....

I don't even know where to start....should I start with how I had a huge emotional breakdown during Landon's appt on Friday with our pediatrician? Or should I start with how I gave Cole and Bella baby formula mixed with sugar-free Quik this morning before breakfast and didn't think anything about it until they both took a sip and spit it out and declared war on Mommy?? Or maybe I should start with how I scared the living daylights out of the babies at 2:30 am when in the middle of burping Landon, a huge, hairy spider landed on my shoulder out of nowhere, making me scream like a crazy woman (in the light of the morning at 6:30 am, I could see this ugly spider had spun a web and was dangling from it, living completely rent-free in our home)?? It all sounds like a bad movie, doesn't it??? Awwww, but it's not a bad movie...it's just the reality of my life....

The breakdown in the pediatrician's office.....everything was going fine until I started talking to Dr C about the babies having bad gas after every meal. Was it the breast milk or the formula? We need to figure this out and quickly because I'm not sure Tim and I can handle one more sleepless night with the babies fussing over gas...mostly, just because we feel so bad for them and so helpless to do anything to relieve their discomfort. Dr C suggests I hold off giving them anymore breastmilk and just feed them formula exclusively so we can see if it's the BM or the formula that's causing the problem. It could be the dairy or the veggies I'm eating, or the herbs I'm taking to increase my BM supply (catch 22's totally suck!!) that is causing them gas or it could be the milk proteins in the formula.....if after 5 days on just formula alone we still have gas issues, then we know it's the formula. If we don't have the gas issues, then we know it's something I'm eating. But when Dr C finds out I'm only making about 5-6 ounces of BM a day, he says it may not be worth altering my diet so drastically for just that small amount. His wife is a lactation consultant so he knows more than the average male when it comes to breastfeeding. He says "if you're exclusively breastfeeding, I might say that altering your diet so drastically would make sense but for such a small amount of breast milk, in my opinion, it's just not worth it....you're spending so much time pumping milk for them and you're not able to enjoy the babies as much as you'd like to because of it". Now I'm on the verge of tears because FINALLY someone understands where I'm coming from...when I want to be holding my babies, I'm having to spend time pumping BM...when I want to sneak in a nap, I'm having to spend time pumping BM....when I should be washing dishes, bottles, laundry, I'm having to spend time pumping. Tim has been wanting me to stop pumping but only because it inconveniences him....I tell him "you just don't understand how I feel....and the guilt associated with not providing BM for the babies...even just a small amount is better than nothing". He clearly doesn't understand. But Dr C seems to understand...and finally he says "you know, if you're looking for permission to stop pumping, I'm giving you permission....don't feel guilty about it...you've done a wonderful job of providing milk for them during the most critical time while they were in the NICU but now they're home and they're both gaining weight appropriately so you've done your job and you've done it well....really, if you feel like you NEED to give up the pumping or you WANT to give up the pumping and you're looking for permission or someone to say it's okay and you've done your job well, I'm telling you that...." and with that, I had my first emotional breakdown right there in the pediatrician's office. And we're not talking just getting a little teary-eyed or just a little quivering of the chin, we're talking full-on crying episode with snot running out of my nose and everything....oh yeah, it was a beautiful sight...thankfully Dr C is one of those pediatrician's who is also very human and he could completely understand my emotions. His wife is one lucky woman. Anyway, so I blabbed and cried to him about how guilty I was feeling but, yes, the endless pumping was slowly driving me to the brink of insanity for only a lousy 5-6 ounces a day...not even enough for 2 full feedings anymore. I was starting to have to supplement even my breastmilk bottles with formula at this point now that both babies are eating more. But at the same time, I was feeling guilty and torn because even though the pumping takes a lot of me emotionally and physically, I want to continue to do it because I think it's good for the babies. So he suggested continuing to pump but freeze the milk so it can be used once we determine what the gas is coming from. I had talked with the LC earlier in the week about stopping the pumping and she told me not to go cold turkey but to slowly discontinue one pumping session at a time until my milk is completely gone....I had been doing that but then the horrible guilt came over me and I added more pumping sessions back in. In the meantime, we've switched from the Avent bottles to the Playtex nursers and I'm gonna try gripe water again (we did this with Bella and it seemed to really help her...who knows if it was more of a placebo effect or if the gripe water really worked but it's worth a try again!). The mylicon drops don't seem to make a difference, from what we can tell. Oh and Landon now weighs 6 pounds, 11 ounces....woe, the little dude is putting on some serious weight these days....also got a clean bill of health on everything else...yeah!

Giving Cole and Bella formula instead of milk....this morning, after getting maybe 3-4 hours of sleep, all broken up of course into chunks of time during the night, Tim got up and took a shower and I took the kids downstairs to give them their morning cup of milk. Without even thinking, I grabbed the formula out of the fridge, poured into their sippy cups and heated it in the microwave. Then I mixed in a tablespoon of sugar-free Quik into the formula and handed them each a cup. They both took one sip and looked at me as if I was trying to poison them. Here's the conversation that took place:

Bella: Eeeeeeww, this milk is yucky....
Cole: Yeah, it's yucky....
Me: Just drink it...please....
Bella: But I don't like it....
Cole: It's yucky...
Me: Mommy's too tired to argue with both of you....please drink your milk...
Bella: I don't like it, I'm not drinking it....it stinks....
Cole: It stinks...

So I smelled it, thinking maybe the milk had gone bad or something....sure enough, the minute the smell hit my nose I knew it was formula. I apologized profusely to them and they both looked like cats who had swallowed the canary...imagine Mommy apologizing to the kids for a change?? More wasted formula...it's only formula, money grows on trees, right? I say this because Tim is just as sleep deprived as I am and so far, I have discovered him leaving out the bottle of formula from the fridge for hours so it has gone warm and I've had to toss it....both times, a $40.00 of ready-to-feed formula, down the drain....part of me wanted to wring his neck, part of me felt bad for him because I know I'm functioning just as well as he is (or should I say, not functioning...)

Okay, so now onto the spider....so I'm sitting there at 2:30 am, in the nursery, on the floor with my back against one of the cribs, both babies each laying in a boppy pillow facing me and drinking their bottles. The room is just dimly lit by a nightlight. Landon needs to burp so I put him over my shoulder and start patting him on the back and all of a sudden I feel something tickling my other shoulder...but my hands are busy so I try to brush whatever it is away with my chin, thinking it's just some hair that's gotten loose from my ponytail. But it keeps tickling me and then I feel whatever it is on my arm....no, it's not a piece of hair...what the hell is on my arm???? I put Landon down and hold my arm up to the nightlight....OMG, it's a freakin, huge hairy black spider!!! I have no idea how long this spider has been on me or where it came from but it's enough to make me scream, waking both babies up completely startled and frightened. I finally get them calm and happy again and as I continue feeding them, I wonder where the spider went....in a panic, I brushed it off me but couldn't figure out where it went. All I know is I wanna get the babies fed, burped and swaddled in blankets again and get the hell out of that room....God only knows how many friends that spider has....is it obvious yet that I have spider-phobia??? I know there's a name for "fear of spiders" but I'm too darn tired to think of what it is...oh yeah, it's arachnophobia...I think....my college roommates, Jen and Shannon, can vouch for the fact that I have an unusually irrational fear of spiders. Every night before beddtime I'd check under the bed for spiders....and for a wierd psycho man who might have broken into our apartment at some point without us noticing and hid under my bed, waiting for us to turn in to bed and kill us in our sleep.....yeah I said it was irrational but I digress....

In the morning, when I got up to do the 6:30 am feeding, now that the room was light from the morning sun, I could see the spider had spun a web in the corner of the room and he must have gotten across the ceiling somehow and then came down on part of the web and landed on me.....and there he was, in the light of day, sitting up there all proudly on his web, looking down at me....he's the Jason Voorhies of spiders, coming back to life again and again....I could've sworn when I brushed him off my shoulder that he had fallen to the floor, dead. But somehow he got right back up there on his web, as if to say "you haven't seen the last of me, little lady...just you wait until the next 2:30 am feeding...."

So now here's the point I was trying to make about reasoning with a 2-yr old while being severely sleep deprived....last night, we were putting Cole and Bella to bed and going through our normal routine...hugs, kisses, "love you's" and lights out, goodnight, sleep tight, oh and don't come into Mommy and Daddy's room until the morning (this is the part they often DO NOT hear)....so I go to give Cole a hug and a kiss and I say "Mommy loves you"...he says "I love Daddy"....okay.....I say again "Mommy loves you", he says "I love Daddy". I ask "do you love Mommy?", he says "no, I love Daddy". Now normally, I know not to make a big deal out of this...he's just a child, he has no idea how a comment like that could affect me. Had I not been sleep deprived, I probably would've just let it go and said "okay, that's fine"....he's certainly entitled to his feelings, even though I know deep in my heart, he does love me. But no....I get all hurt and bent out of shape and I say "so you don't love Mommy? Well, next time you want Mommy to get you some Dora gummies or a cup of juice, why don't you go ask Daddy since you love him and not Mommy?"...he just looks at me like "what's your problem??". I walk out of the room and go to our room, where I sit on the bed and cry. Why doesn't my son love me anymore? Then I hear Tim call out "Sweetie, Cole wants to hug you" so I go back and hug him and he says "I love you, Mommy".....great, I just guilted my son into telling me he loves me. Now I have yet another thing to feel bad about.....

Are things really that bad? No, they're not...but sometimes things seem a million times worse than they really are when you haven't had much sleep. It's not the end of the world if I can't make 30 ounces of breastmilk for the babies, it's not the end of the world if I decide to stop pumping, it's not the end of the world if Cole tells me he loves Daddy instead of me, and it's certainly not the end of the world because a spider lands on me at 2:30 in the morning when I'm so tired I can't see straight....it's actually kinda humorous when I think back to everything that's happened in the last few days. So I just gotta remember to lighten up....this is only temporary....before I know it, Cole and Bella will be 5 and off to kindergarten and Landon and Garrett will be going through the same things that Cole and Bella are going through now...and I'll think back to when they were tiny babies, like they are now, and wish I could turn back the hands of time. I won't remember the sleepless nights or the millions of stupid mistakes I made (well, knowing me, I will remember the mistakes....) but I'll remember how sweet the babies were and how much I loved holding them in my arms. I'll remember how much I loved rocking them to sleep, feeling their warm breath on my neck and wishing they'd stay this little forever.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

This post brought to you courtesy of Miss Bella, the family princess

Hi everyone...my mom is too tired to update so I jumped at the chance to do it. I really like my new baby brothers but I keep wondering when they are going to their new home...I mean, this is temporary, right? They lived at the hospital for a little while and that was super nice because we got to go visit them a lot but we didn't have to listen to them cry all the time or share our Mom and Dad too much. But now that Garrett and Landon are home, Mom and Dad have to spend a lot of time feeding them and stuff. Why can't they hold their own bottles? And what's up with having to be "gentle" with the babies all the time...Mom says I have to be careful of their heads. I don't see what the big deal is...when my Barbie doll's head pops off, I just stick it back on her. No harm, no foul. And my Barbie is still smiling so obviously she hasn't been seriously injured. I'm really good at burping the babies...I just slap them on the back a few times and they burp. It's really cool. Sometimes I just tell them to burp and they do...they already know who's the boss and I'm liking it....

Cole and I are doing well...Easter is coming up and my nanny and grandpa got us Easter Baskets. Mom and Dad hid them from us but we know they put the baskets in the living room closet. So every once in awhile, I go into the closet to make sure the baskets are still there and still intact....no one is going near my Easter candy!! Mom and Dad bought a bag of M&M's at the store the other day and they can't seem to find the bag....hahahahaha....that's because me and Cole took the bag and hid it from them. How do you like it now, Mom and Dad??? You don't like people taking your things and hiding them from you, do you?? I always get the last laugh...you'd think they'd know that by now.

See, the thing about adults is that they underestimate us little people. I'm 2 years old but I have eyes, I can see that you're hiding something from me. I have ears, I can hear you whispering about me. I have feelings, so when you tell me no to something I can't help it if I cry. Sure, crying over something as simple as not having the exact sippy cup I want to drink my OJ out of may not seem like a big deal to you but to me, it's the end of the world. It really is. I've had days that have started out horribly because I did not get the juice I wanted in the exact sippy cup that I wanted....it all comes down to mutual respect, ya know?? You respect my choices, I respect your choices....why can't parents understand that??

But I get away with a lot because I'm so darn cute...I'm sure you've seen my pictures and you'll agree that I'm cute as a button. But Mom says I'm also beautiful on the inside, whatever that means. I think she read in one of her millions of parenting books that she should tell me that so I don't get stuck on judging people on their looks and not look at what's on the inside, or something like that. They talked about it on Dr Phil one day...not that I watch Dr Phil on a daily basis but he seems like a smart guy. Personally, I prefer to watch Dora the Explorer...now I really learn stuff from her, she's one smart cookie. Not quite the looker but I'm sure she's beautiful on the inside.

Here are some recent pictures....don't I have a great smile??







So back to the babies....they're both really growing a lot. We took Garrett to the dr's office the other day and he already weighs 5 pounds. That little dude can eat. But he poops like 5 times a day so it makes me wonder how he even gains weight when everything that goes in, goes right back out again. He cries about everything...sometimes I just wanna yell at him "Dude, what's your problem? This is life....deal with it". Sometimes you just have to accept the cards your dealt, know what I mean? He acts like he's gonna die if he's not held the minute he starts crying or something...kinda like me when I don't get the sippy cup I want but somehow my needs seem more important than is. I am 2 years old, after all, and he's just a baby.

We're not sure how much Landon weighs right now but he has an appt on Friday so we'll find out then. He's a lot bigger than Garrett but they look so much alike that when I see them separately I have a hard time telling who's who. Mom says they look like little boiled chickens so we've nicknamed them "Chicken One" and "Chicken Two" or sometimes we call Garrett "Chicken Little" because he's so little. I'm not sure if they like the names or not. One of the nurses in the NICU started calling Garrett "peanut" and I said I wasn't gonna tolerate that...that's MY nickname and I'm not sharing it. I'm the original "peanut"...I already have to share my home with those stinky babies, isn't that enough?? I shouldn't have to share my nickname too...

So that's today's update....hopefully Mom won't be too tired to do the next update or Cole may have to do it. It's a lot of work but I really appreciate having the opportunity to express my opinions in this forum. I'm kinda like the Rush Limbaugh of toddlers....not that I think he's all that great but I like the fact that he has his own talk show, where he gets to express his opinions all the time. That's gotta be nice and he gets paid for it too....talk about perks!!

Okay, gotta run....I think I smell poop and it's not ME for once....

Miss Bella the Family Princess

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The adrenaline has worn off....sleep deprivation has set in....

The first 2 nights that Garrett was home was a huge blur! He had difficulty the first night settling in....probably the change in temperature, sharing a bassinet with his twin brother and just being in a whole new setting I'm sure threw him off a little. Plus, he has been having gas problems since birth on the special formula the NICU doctors put him on (we'll be discussing this with our pediatrician on Monday). So that first night, I got up about every 15 minutes with him and finally at 5:30 am, I put him on Tim's chest on his left side and said "I need to try to get at least 30 minutes of sleep before Cole and Bella get up".....I was not a very fun person to be around on Friday. Either was Tim....we were both very sleep deprived. But Friday night was a little bit easier but he was still having some trouble....but then last night, I gave him some mylicon drops after his last bottle before bedtime and laid him down to sleep on his left side (with lots of padding around him!!) and he did wonderfully!!!! I actually got 5 hours of sleep....not consecutively but 5 hours of sleep broken up into chunks is better than no sleep!!!

One of the things I had remembered about when Cole and Bella came home was that in the NICU, the nurses always had them sleeping on their bellies. They can get away with that in the NICU because the babies are on monitors. So when Cole and Bella came home, they had a lot of difficulty getting used to sleeping on their backs. Tim and I ended up having to sleep with them on our chests on their bellies on most nights so we could all get a good night's sleep because I was too nervous having them sleep on their bellies in their bassinet or in their cribs. Thank goodness I had remembered this and I had asked the nurses this time from the get-go to have the boys always laying on their backs or on their sides so they would be used to it when they came home....so the nights are actually going much better now than they did when Cole and Bella were newborns.

We took all 4 kids on some errands yesterday and I won't even write the "interesting" words Tim used to describe the experience. It was very stressful at times but I figure we gotta get used to it because this is our life now. I dressed Cole and Bella each in bright yellow shirts so we could keep an eye on them, as they do not like to ride in the carts anymore. And of course, we couldn't get down an aisle without someone stopping us and asking us about the babies and then looking shocked as they learned we have 2 sets of twins. One lady went to reach her hand in to Garrett's carseat and before she could get her hand in there I said "please don't touch him...he bites" and she said "really??" and I said "no, not really but he's only 3 weeks old and I have him covered because I don't want him being touched". I'm surprised at how many people want to touch a newborn baby, even when the baby is a total stranger to them. We had their carseats covered and people still wanted to look at them....I told Tim just the thought of people breathing on them mortified me but we have to live our lives. Thankfully, the end of RSV season is right around the corner and both boys had their Synagis shots or I would've just lived like a hermit for the next 4-6 weeks in the house, not taking them anywhere.

I have to say though even as sleep deprived as I am (I am a person who needs at least 8 hours of sleep to function properly), I feel like things are going well....sure, I can't remember my kids' names most of the time (my sister loves to point out that I keep calling Landon by Garrett's name and vice versa) and as I'm about to go do something, I forget in an instant what it was I was about to do, things are going much better than I could have anticipated. Tim and I are actually getting along really well, surprisingly. By the time we had Cole and Bella home for 3 weeks, we were ready to kill each other.

So that's the update for today....the adrenaline has definitely worn off and all the blurriness of having a newborn (or in our case, newborns) in the house has settled in but I know it's temporary. And the boys are so darn cute, it's hard to be upset over lost sleep or the fact that I can't remember when I ate last. I can't get over what little miracles they are....I can't stop looking at them and just being completely boggled over the fact that my body actually created both of them without any effort. The sun, moon and stars and every planet in this atmosphere must have been perfectly aligned when they were conceived, honestly. I can't stop thanking God in every blessing I say....I'm not sure what Tim and I have ever done to deserve being blessed like this with 4 beautiful children but we must have done something right at some point!!!!

Okay, it's feeding time here at the zoo.....gotta run....

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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