Carl took several days off this week in compensation for paternity leave days he spent working at the hospital. Since adopting the babies we’ve taken lots of walks around our region, but haven’t gone further afield. We decided to stretch our boundaries this week with two daytrips. On Tuesday we drove two hours to the coast. The kids got their first glimpse of the Atlantic before burrowing their faces into our chests and going to sleep. I’m glad January weather isn’t conducive to swimming; from posted signs we learned that the state record tiger shark was caught off this pier, which juts out from one of our favorite beaches:
For our next daytrip we headed in the other directi0n to a beautiful, mostly deserted county park an hour north. It’s full of rocky hills, lakes, and forests. We usually use our Ergo carriers for local walks, but put the kids in new hiking packs my Aunt gave us for this longer trek. It felt great to be out on the trail again after so many months in populated areas. It was especially nice after all the grim “just wait until you have babies – you’ll never be able to hike again” predictions others gave us. Packing the babies up and heading out on a trail with them is only slightly more complicated than going on a neighborhood walk, and the rewards are very well worth it. It helps that the twins love being outside.
After many years of waiting and indecision, we finally upgraded from regular cell phones to smart phones. My parents gave us each an iPhone 4S as our Christmas gift after we did a little research and realized it would do everything we wanted for half the price of the latest model. We don’t regret waiting, having saved thousands of dollars in bills over the last several years, but we’re also having a lot of fun playing with our new toys. It’s nice to have a slim, easy photo and video option along when we’re out and about with the kids, along with easy access to maps and yelp. For those of you who upgraded before me (that would be, um, everybody?), what apps do you find most useful/interesting?
Now that the kids are napping well and reliably, I’m really enjoying having a few minutes to read again. On the recommendation of Carl’s stepmom I’m currently reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and enjoying it very much. I haven’t read a lot of African literature, other than works written by European explorers/settlers. Once this one’s finished, I look forward to reading more of Achebe’s works.
Speaking of naps: sleep training. I know it’s a touchy subject, and that every baby is wired differently. I am all for every family choosing whatever route works best for them – playing things by ear, attachment parenting, Ezzo, co-sleeping, whatever. All I can say is that, in our case, with two month old babies who had essentially been trained not to sleep, sleep training has been fantastic for our family. We used a combination of advice from Carl’s coworker (a sleep physician), a handmedown book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins by Marc Weissbluth, and common sense (advice and experts are great, but we’re the one’s interacting with our kids). The twins now sleep from 7:00 at night to 7:00 in the morning without awakenings, along with two good two hour naps each day. They fall asleep without crying, and wake up smiley. The whole training process was non-traumatic and peaceful, with no soul-crushing nights of hour long crying. As the babies have caught up on sleep, and as we’ve learned to watch for their drowsy-but-not-yet-sleepy signs, we’ve seen huge improvements in their happiness during the day. We never realized how much of their screaming and inconsolable fussiness in those first days came from built up sleep-deprivation (not just age/infancy/adoption) until our usually calm happy boy had an utterly exhausting day this week and reverted to the exact same end-of-day behaviors he had when he arrived. Perhaps our sleep training story will be a post of its own, when I get around to it…
Like I said, the babies are really pretty calm and happy now. They generally only fuss if it’s time for their feeding (what amazing little alarm-clock stomachs babies have, down to the minute) or they’re ready for sleep. UNLESS, that is, we’re in church. If you’re an X-Men fan, you probably know the character Banshee, who emits such powerful sound waves that he can fly off them. Banshee is one of our nicknames for Jack. He doesn’t cry much, but when he does it is a true force of nature, ricocheting down the halls of the church and through the closed doors of the sanctuary during communion so loudly that other parents ask you in awed tones which twin was it that was screaming like that?
People ask funny questions about the babies – some understandable, some head scratchers:
“Are they twins?” Yes
“One boy and one girl, how sweet. Are they identical?” Umm…
“Aww, a boy and a girl. Can you tell them apart?” Umm….
“What are the twins birthdays?” (it’s the s on birthdays that gets me…)
Off to cook a wintery dinner of bratwurst with Leeks & White Beans from Food & Wine’s Best of the Best. The Man is currently on post doing battle with TriCare (military health insurance) to get my care switched from the clinic half an hour away to the one five blocks from our house. It took a failed in person visit, a failed call, an email, an approval from the hospital commander, forms from two administrators, another form at the TriCare office, and, now, an hour at their office (and counting). I love him.
For more quick takes please visit Conversion Diary.