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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Day in the Life...

Over the past ten months, it’s been a wild ride, from the sleepless nights with newborns and shock of having two babies to care for to falling in love with these two beautiful little boys and realizing they’re now a part of my life, a part of our family, and now being unable to imagine life without them. It’s been tiring and tough, but rewarding.

Having never been in the situation of parent or even lived in a household with one, let alone two babies, I often wondered what life would be like as parents and how I’d deal with it day to day. So I’m posting what a typical work day is like in our home – a routine I’ve become accustomed to.

Nick and I have staggered our work schedules to avoid having the nanny with the boys for 10 hours per day, so I’m up first and out the door early, but home between 3:45 and 4 p.m. Nick isn’t home until around 5:30. Although we both have to work, at least with this schedule, the boys only spend about 8 hours or a little less with the nanny. And some days, one of us comes home for lunch.

5:00 a.m.: My alarm goes off, followed by two snooze sessions. I’m not a morning person, and hate this time of day! Everyone is still asleep, other than the dog. I get out of bed, let the dog out, and then feed her. Then I’m off to the shower and to get dressed. By the time I’m ready, it’s time to walk the dog. Some mornings one of the boys will be up at this point, and if that’s the case, I take him downstairs for a diaper change and a bottle in the Pack-N-Play. He’s safe in there while I walk the dog. After the dog walk, I skim the newspaper, say goodbye to Nick and the boys if they’re awake, and head to work. Nick has about an hour at this point before the nanny arrives.

4:00 p.m.: I’m home from work, and hit the ground running. Both boys are thrilled to see me, and I have to get my hugs and kisses from them! If they weren’t up before I left in the morning, this is the first time I’ve seen them for the day. Before the nanny leaves, I head upstairs to change clothes, get clothes ready for the next day, clean out the diaper bin, and then come downstairs to make my lunch for the next day. I generally do a little cleaning after the nanny leaves. The boys love to follow me around when I Swiffer the hardwoods! They seem to think this is some game. I usually start dinner around 5 p.m. and get the boys high chairs and baby food out for their dinner. We have play time until they seem ready for dinner around 5:30 to 6 p.m. By this time, Nick is home. If I feed the boys, I usually try to eat at the same time, sitting at the kitchen island. If you try to eat while they’re not eating, you’ll soon have a twin attached to each let, begging for food, even if they just ate!

6:30 p.m.: Around this time I like to either go for a two mile walk or work out in our home gym. It’s nothing huge, but enough for mid week workouts. Either way, I don’t spend more than about 40 minutes on fitness. Then it’s either bath time for the boys (we bathe them every other night) or time to change diapers and get them into their PJs. They love baths now, and we put them in the tub together with a few toys. Although it’s getting to the point where I could wear a rain coat during bath time, as they’ve discovered the thrills of splashing water. They have so much fun that I hate to take them out.

7:30 p.m.: This is wind-down time for the boys where we play with them and then either read them a book, or some nights we watch a DVD that has bed time stories. They love this, and there are songs we sing along with. By now they’re getting tired and sometimes cranky. One of the twins falls asleep in your arms, the other needs to be given a bottle and put in the Pack-N-Play. Then they’re off to bed around 8.

8:00 p.m. This is our only real personal time – 45 minutes to an hour on weekday evenings. I’m in bed normally by 9 since I get up so early, and this quiet time of the day just seems too short!

Weekends are more flexible and enjoyable with less routine, but we’ve fallen into this weekday schedule and it works for us. I’m planning on using my vacation time this year to play “stay at home dad” and spend time with the boys and take them out to do special things. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being there all day, every day, and other times going to work feels like a break. But then I see the stay at home moms in our neighborhood and they’re just as exhausted as I am. It’s a tough job, but an exciting adventure.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

10 Months Old!

March is here, with warmer weather and longer days, allowing us to get out of the house more often. The birds are chirping and Spring’s first flowers have started to bloom. I’m no fan of winter and when combined with the horrible economic news the past few months, it’s been a season I just wanted to get past. Once the first green leaves start to pop open, I know the boys first birthday will be fast approaching. As much as I’ve tried to live in the moment and enjoy the twins in their first months, I think the first birthday is as much a milestone of survival for the parents as it is a celebration of their lives and their fist year.

The boys are very active, very mobile, and progressing toward walking. They walk along furniture, holding on for balance and looking for trouble. We’ve removed as many temptations from the main living area as possible, but you can hear the wheels turning in their little heads as they look for something new to put in their mouths or break apart. The only thing you’ll find on our coffee table or end tables is fingerprints. I finally broke down and moved two big plants to the basement until they can be placed outside in Spring after tiring of saying “NO” and pulling leaves and dirt from their mouths. The Tupperware drawer in the kitchen is a great toy box to divert their attention while preparing dinner, and it didn’t cost a dime. I’ve also learned to be fast when getting things out of the refrigerator. It takes about two seconds for either of the boys to be under your feet and pulling things out of it. And cooking just wouldn’t be fun without a boy attached to each of my legs!

Both boys have a fair number of teeth, and one of them loves to use them to bite, or chew on his crib. I think we’ll have to sand the crib down and re-stain it once he’s beyond this stage, since the cribs convert to twin beds. It was such a big deal when the first tooth came in, but now I don’t check every day. They both have top and bottom teeth in front, and seem to have figured out how to chew like a rabbit on food they like. Teddy Grahams are a great way to gain about five minutes of peace and quiet while you load the dishwasher.

The big difference in parenting now (ten months) compared to last summer is that’s it’s fun. We’re much more rested now that they both (usually) sleep through the night, and they laugh, giggle, and play with each other and with us. Last evening I got down on the floor in the middle of their toys and just played with them, let them crawl over me, and watched out for the occasional pinch or bite to my face. When I come home from work, their little faces light up and they have to get a big hug from me. Now I can see where having twins actually gets easier, because they play with each other, “talk” back and forth, and conspire to commit crimes against their daddies! Another parent rule to remember, silence equals big trouble! If everything gets quiet and you don’t see either twin, trouble’s a brewin’ somewhere. In these mysterious quiet moments, I’ve caught them doing the following: chewing on a dining room table leg, pulling all the toilet paper off the roll in the powder room, chewing on a dirty shoe, pulling the cords to the computer and very close to pulling it off the desk, about to knock over a telescope, taunting the cat, removing door stops from the wall, pulling dirt out of planters, playing in the dog’s water dish, and sticking their hands in a toilet. Just when you think the house is baby-proofed, they prove otherwise!

Two months until the big birthday, and plans have already begun. We’re hoping for nice weather and an outdoor party and maybe one of those “jumpy castle” things for the bigger kids. I have a feeling we’ll have grandparents in town for the occasion (none of the grandparents have been to visit yet) so it should be interesting.