In Which My Daughter Does a 180 on Having Her Own Room

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Categories From the Mouths of Multiples, Individuality, Loneliness, Overnight, Parenting Twins, School-Age, Sleep, Talking to KidsTags , , , Leave a comment

My daughters are at a turning point. Being together 24/7 at age 7 as they more deeply explore their distinct interests is grating on each other. M loves to sing and J sometimes just wants her to stop humming. J likes to see the bright side or educational opportunity in every challenge, while M just wants to have the freedom to feel and express her frustrations.

I’d sent the girls off to get ready for bed Sunday when J flounced out of the bathroom and threw herself into my lap.

J: M’s annoying me.
Sadia: Have you talked to her about it?
J: Yes! And she won’t stop!
Sadia: Just find somewhere else to be.
J: silence
Sadia: There are moments when I get frustrated. Sometimes the thing I do is go to a different room and do something distracting.
J: I can’t do that. We’re sisters. We’re in the same place. You don’t get it. Being an adult is so easy.
Sadia: hiding a smile Adulthood has its own challenges. You know, we do have an extra room. Do you want your own room?
J: How would you fix the bed back together?
Sadia: I was thinking you could sleep in the bed that’s already in the guest room.
J: Yeah! I’ll do that tonight.
Sadia: Oh! You need to let your sister know what’s going on so she’s not surprised.

I hadn’t anticipated J’s response. I thought that the idea of sleeping alone would horrify her, as it has done every time Daddy has brought up getting separate rooms. He and his sister were 13 months apart and in the same grade. He cherished the sanctity of his own space.

Five minutes later…

M: getting louder and louder But I don’t like sleeping by myself!
J: M! It’s just for a month.
M: Mommy, J says I’m annoying and she won’t sleep with me.
Sadia: I know, honey. It’s like when you told her last night that she couldn’t sleep in your bed because she was annoying you.
M: It’s not the same. I don’t like sleeping by myself. I only sent her to a bed in the same room. Who’ll sleep with me?
Sadia: What if I sleep in your room?
M: I guess. My bed. I need snuggles because I’m without my sister.
J: It’s for a month, M. In one month I’ll try sleeping in your room if you’re not annoying. If you are annoying I’ll go back to my room for one more month.

With little fanfare, J went to bed in the guest room. We read a chapter of Little House on the Prairie together in J’s new bed. The girls said their prayers.

J: … Thank you, God, for giving me a mom who understands my needs…

The new arrangement lasted one night. In the car yesterday evening, J brought up having come to snuggle with us around 2:00 am when she was suffering a snuggle deficit. She reports our having had a conversation. I didn’t remember it at all. I didn’t think of my lack of memory as a big deal, but J interpreted it as “sleep talking”. She has an inexplicable terror of sleep walking. After many tears and endless attempts on her part to get me to remember the discussion and on my part to show that there was nothing wrong, she elected to sleep in M’s bed for comfort.

I wonder where she’ll decide to sleep tonight. At least she’s convinced that I understand her needs. From my perspective, it’s all a big fat mystery.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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When One Twin Doesn’t Want to Nap

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Categories Difference, Discipline, Napping, Preschoolers, Routines, SleepTags , , , , 10 Comments

Since my twin daughters’ birth, one has been a better sleeper than the other, even though they were put on the same schedule from the beginning.  While they were both good to me at a young age and slept through the night, if someone were to get up at night, it was Lisa, and still is Lisa.  If someone were to take a long time to fall asleep, it was her as well.  But, my other daughter, Alison, almost never gets up at night.  Alison can sleep through her sister’s night wakings and subsequent crying and bedroom door opening and closings.  She really only gets up if she is sick or something.  It is wonderful.

At nap time, Alison is generally much quicker to fall asleep.  She just needs her special blanket.  And she can then sleep for at least two hours but has been known to sleep for up to three, or, on a rare day, even longer.  Her sister Lisa on the other hand, fights taking a nap with tears, requests for books, drinks of water, and protest of, “I don’t want to take a nap!”

So, my husband and I have tried numerous thing to coax Lisa to nap every day – rewards for taking a nap; punishments for not taking a nap; loving words; threats; sitting in the room until she falls asleep; ignoring her; giving her books or a toy; moving nap time back; and so on.  But, that girl can happily roll around her bed for an hour, and still not fall asleep, frustrating her parents to no end at the same time.

Lately, Lisa is hit or miss with napping.  It seems more often than not, she does not take a nap.

So, my question is, to all the seasoned MOMs out there – what do you do when one of your twins seems to be done with naps?  I am stubborn and still try putting her down for a nap every single day, at the same time that her sister Alison goes down.  I know my girls are now three, and that maybe I should just be grateful that they’ve napped as long as they have, but naps are precious to me, especially as I have a newborn and desperately want to take a nap each day too!  Plus, she gets destructive and defiant when she doesn’t nap, and is then ready for bed much earlier at night than her sister.  I really don’t like them on different schedules.

So, when did your twins stop napping?  How did you encourage a stubborn napper to sleep? Or what did you do with them once they stopped napping?  Quiet time?  And what did that quiet time look like?

 

ldskatelyn is a wife and mother of three kids, including a set of three year old fraternal twin daughters and brand new newborn son.  She works hard to mantain balance in all things as she stays at home with her kids and runs the household, supporting her grad student husband.  She blogs about her life and other things over at whatsupfagans.blogspot.com

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The 4am Feed

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, How Do The Moms Do It, Organization, Overnight, RoutinesTags , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

I confess. I am lazy.

That’s the secret to my efficiency. For example, I’ve got the 4am feed down to a 20-minute science. It took some tweaking for the babies to cooperate, but now most days they do. Actually a lot of what I’m doing now is what I did with Toddler, only I had forgotten until I had to rediscover it all over again. So, if you must do a middle-of-the-night feed, here are some tricks I’ve found that work great for me.

First, not part of the efficiency thing, but greatly helpful to set your babies up for sleep, dim the lights down to one very low wattage bulb. I think mine is 10 watts. It sits in the corner of the room farthest away from the babies. The babies get a clean diaper, swaddled, then placed in their spots in the cosleeper. I sometimes play soft music from my iPhone for them (Pandora’s Lullabye station). Then…

1. Feed babies as much as possible before going to bed. In our case, babies load up before sleeping for good, often 6 ounces over a couple of feedings starting at around 9:30pm. They’re usually out by 11pm.

2. Before going to bed, get all bottles and pump accessories for the night/early morning ready. For me, this means putting nipples on and labeling all bottles. I usually have two bottles of formula made also, as backup. All pump flanges and bottles are clean and screwed together, ready to use.

3. Pump one last time and go to sleep at the same time as the babies. It’s tempting to watch a little TV or get things done while they’re asleep, but I’ve noticed they sleep better with me nearby and I really value my own sleep. I’m sometimes already drifting off while they’re still rustling to settle in.

4. Do not get up before they’re supposed to. If they loaded up on milk before going down, they don’t need to be fed until 4am. Usually all I have to do is replace the paci for the rustling baby and they’re back out before they can really wake up. Toddler never took a paci, so I would just jiggle her bassinet a little and she’d go back to sleep.

5. When the time does come to feed, pop a bottle in the mouth of the hungry one and prop it with whatever you have (I use their blankets). Then do the same with the other one, even if he/she is still fast asleep. They’re still swaddled, so no chance of waving arms knocking the bottles out. My babies will eat while asleep and keep sleeping afterwards without even waking up. I also no longer burp or change them (unless there’s poop) in the middle of the night.

6. While they are eating, pump. There’s a way to secure the flanges with the insides of your elbows by resting the bottles on your thighs, so that you can read your iPhone or reprop a bottle  when necessary. When I’m done, babies have finished eating and have probably also fallen asleep. All I have to do is retrieve their bottles. I leave the flanges on the bottles I just pumped, and everything is left on the nightstand until morning.

7. I can usually do this while still half-asleep myself. Sometimes I will get up to drink some water, pee, and read my phone for a bit in bed before sleeping again, but I can just as easily go right back to sleep. My babies will sleep until 9am, if I replace the paci for them a couple of times starting around 7am. I am usually up by 8ish to watch Toddler after Husband leaves for work, so I can get in a pump and have breakfast with her before they wake up.

Another plus to this is, they usually wake at the same time! That means the day starts off with them on the same schedule. It usually doesn’t stay that way, and I’ve given up imposing a strict togetherness, but sometimes they can stay within a half hour of each other all day.

I’m looking forward to them sleeping all the way till morning and taking regular solid naps (Toddler did it before she was their age), but I think this is as good as it gets for a middle-of-the-night feeding (for twins). But I’ll gladly take any other suggestions to streamline things even further!

lunchldyd is mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and 4 month old b/g twins, taking whatever sleep she can get!

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Sleeping arrangements for twins – the toddler update

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A few weeks ago, with no preparation, I decided to move our girls from their cribs to beds. My sudden decision occurred because when I got them up from their naps, S had her leg caught between the crib bars for the third time in the last few weeks.  I decided that it would be safer for them to move to beds. So, we took down the cribs and set up the beds in their share bedroom that afternoon. So, without talking to the girls about “big girl beds” and without reading any stories about sleeping in beds or any other preparatory activities, we made the move. We moved the cribs out – one to go back to my sister-in-law, the other to go to a friend expecting in a few months. There was no turning back.

Obviously, we, as parents, had discussed this potential step before since we had single beds, mattresses, sheets, Bed Bug Bumpers and everything else we though we’d need already. But, we hadn’t quite intended to do it so soon or so suddenly.  Even at 20 months old, the girls were still happy in their cribs, so there hadn’t been any need to change their sleeping arrangements.  Besides, they’d had plenty of different sleeping arrangements in the early months of their lives but the 10 months or so everything had been stable.

Night 1: The girls wanted to climb and stand on their beds, so we talked about how beds are only for sitting and laying down. The girls both went to bed without any problems. They were probably exhausted from the excitement of moving furniture, cleaning their room, getting everything set up etc.

Day 2 Nap: S fell out of bed. I hurt the thump, then silence, then the scream.  She wasn’t hurt or too scared to go back to bed. I think she fell over the foot of the bed not the side. I kind of hoped this would discourage anymore standing up in bed. In hopes of keeping the from climbing, we told their big brother that he wasn’t allowed in their beds. We thought this would keep them from trying to climb in and out, especially since they are too short to get in by themselves.

Night 2: We repeated the talk about sitting and laying in bed. Again they settled to sleep fairly well… at least that’s what we thought.  When we checked later, R’s bed was covered with hand-me down clothes that had been in a box at the foot of her bed. I moved the box out the room immediately.

Day 3 Nap: The nanny settle the girls for nap time.  She was quite concerned about them falling out of bed, but everything went alright.

Night 3: R fell out of bed once but she wasn’t hurt. Both girls settled to sleep.  We started to think that maybe the transition period was over.  I hoped that I could relax and sleep a little more soundly without listening for anyone falling out of bed.

Night 4: 7 am – I rolled over and shook my husband awake.  We listened to the sound of little feet coming down the hallway to our room.  S had figured out how to get out of bed, and she was sure proud of herself!

Day 5 Nap: We set up the playpens to help our nanny feel more comfortable and to give us a chance to figure out what to do next.

Night 5: We put the baby gate across the door to keep S in her room.  We also left the playpens set up as a back up.  When S climbed out of bed, we put them both in playpens for the night.

Nights 6, 7: we were away visiting family for the weekend so the girls were their playpens.

Week 2: When S climbed out of bed, we’d respond by putting both girls in their playpens for the rest of the night.  At nap time, I’d use the same approach and the nanny would use the playpens. By the end of the week R had figured out how to get out of bed too. The first thing they would do when the got out was take the laundry out of their laundry basket.  I tried hiding it under the bed, but they could drag it out.

Week 3: Bedtime was going better. They knew they were supposed to stay in bed.  If they got out, then they were in the playpens. But now mornings were the issue.  At  6:30 am I would hear little feet hit the ground. So, I had to get up and put them in their playpens until we ready to get up.

Week 4: They now know what’s coming when we open the door.  If they are out of bed, they head to their beds in hopes that we won’t put them in their playpens. I’m looking forward to the day when we can take the playpens out of their room because it is crowded with two beds and two playpens.  I’m not looking forward to the day they discover they can take clothes out of the dresser, too.

When did you make the transition from cribs to beds? What worked for you?

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Sleeping arrangements for twins

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Categories Napping, Overnight, Products, SleepTags , , , , , 6 Comments

My apologies for the late posting.  Our lives have been crazy over the last couple of weeks – we’ve just moved. I wrote most of this post just before we moved. I was busy with other things, so I didn’t get a chance to read everyone else posts.  I see that Sarah wrote about managing sleep with newborns. Hopefully this doesn’t overlap too much.

Sleep and related topics have been on my mind quite a bit recently. We’ve just moved to a new house with more bedrooms, lots more bedrooms. Thought it wasn’t the only reason, one of our reasons for looking for a new house was to have enough room for the girls to each have their own bedrooms, at some point, if they want them, or a very large room to share. There will also be enough bedrooms for office space for Mom and Dad, and still there will be rooms to spare.

In the new house, the girls will share a bedroom.  For the first time they will be in separate cribs in the same room.  Now this isn’t the first time they’ll be sleeping apart, nor the first time they will be in cribs, just the first time they will be in separate cribs in the same room.

Since we brought the girls home in January, we’ve tried a wide range of sleeping arrangements.

When they first came home from the hospital…

  • two babies sharing cradle in our bedroom
  • two babies sharing bassinette in the playpen in the living room
  • one baby in the bassinette in the basement TV room for quick naps when we were watching TV.  Usually the other baby was eating.

But they soon outgrew the bassinette, and we needed to find new solutions…

  • two babies sharing crib in our bedroom
  • two babies sharing playpen in dining room

After just a couple of days of lifting two babies in and out of the playpen, we needed a different solution…

  • two babies sharing crib in our bedroom
  • two babies sharing a new (second) crib in dining room

Then we decided they were ready to sleep in their own room

  • two babies sharing crib in my office their bedroom (or “babies’ office” as my son called it)
  • two babies sharing crib in the dining room

But, they didn’t always share the same sleep schedule…

  • one baby in the crib in their bedroom and one in the bassinette in the playpen in our room at night
  • two babies sharing crib in the dining room during the day

Then we decided to put our house up for sale so we had to remove the crib from the dining room and the playpen from our bedroom…

  • two babies sharing the crib in their bedroom

Then I took the children to stay with my mom while the house was for sale

  • two babies in two playpens except when they took turns sleep with me

Then we came back home…

  • two babies sharing the crib in their bedroom

Until the fan in our son’s room broke, and for a short time…

  • two babies sharing the crib in their bedroom and one toddler in the playpen in their bedroom

About  in mid-October, the girls seemed to be waking up more than usual, so we decided to separate them…

  • one baby in the crib in their bedroom
  • one baby in the playpen in their bedroom

Which has meant more sleep for me since one of the girls is usually sleep through the night, and her sister is usually only up once.

Now that we are settled in our new house, the girls are sleeping in two cribs in their new bedroom.  One of our girls still wakes up more than her sister, so her crib is closer to the door.

We certainly didn’t plan to try all these different sleeping arrangement, but as their needs and our needs changed, we adapted. And, I’m certain their be more arrangements to try out as they grow in our new house.

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