I've been telling lots of people lately that life with a baby (or two!) gets a lot better after about 10 weeks or so, at least in my experience. (And for other preemie parents, that timeframe will surely vary based on adjusted age.) Tonight, I am reminded again how far we have all come in four months.
For the first couple of months, evenings were pretty tricky around here. Even when my mom stopped staying with us, she came back in the evenings because the girls were so fussy. Remember, Jeremy works 2nd shift so I am home alone in the evenings for bath, bedtime, etc. My girls love their bath. No matter how ill they are, life is good when they are in the bathtub (is it bad that I have most definitely considered hanging out in the bathtub all day?!). But for many, many weeks, as soon as bathtime was over, they needed to be held and fed...IMMEDIATELY. That made it nearly impossible for me to handle alone. I can cuddle and comfort one baby while she eats her bedtime bottle, but how do I bathe the other and get her ready for bed?? Thank goodness for mom (again).
Those weeks when mom would come in the evening were all fine and good, but I knew that when I went back to work I had to do it myself. I practiced a few times in those weeks between the time Jeremy went back to work (when the girls were 4 weeks old) and the time I went back (13 weeks). How did it go? Um, I don't really even want to think about it! Seriously, it was pretty bad. I was stressed all evening trying to keep both babies happy, and it didn't work too well. By bedtime, I was absolutely exhausted. Needless to say, I was TERRIFIED of what evenings would be like once I returned to work.
I went back at the beginning of July, and guess what? The evenings with just me and my girls are my favorite part of the day. As they have learned to entertain themselves for a few minutes at a time, bathtime has become much less stressful. Thank goodness for Baby Einstein...Jeremy calls it baby crack!! I was skeptical that they would pay any attention at this age, but since they love anything on the tv, I tried it. They are captivated. Because it's at least educational and has classical music, I feel a little less guilty about parking my babies in front of the tv for about 30 minutes in the evening. I have come to treasure the few hours in the evening when I get to hang out with my girls, reading books, playing with toys, snuggling on the couch...just enjoying them in general. (When we move and I'm not commuting to work anymore, I will have one extra hour in the evening...I can't wait!!)
I tell all of this to illustrate how far we have come in just a little over a month. Tonight, though... tonight was a little rough. I had a horrible headache all afternoon and took a short nap at mom's, so we were a little late coming home. The girls almost always take a nap on the drive home, and tonight they woke up horribly ill. Addison did not want me to put her down, and screamed every time I did. I fixed some cereal that we've been working on eating from a spoon, and that didn't last long AT ALL (although they are doing much better keeping it in their mouths!). I ended up feeding Addison a few ounces of a bottle before the bath, which I hate to do because it can mess up the schedule. I'm all about the SCHEDULE...It helps me keep my sanity. The bottle helped her calm down a little, though, and didn't get us off too badly tonight. Sometimes I just have to deal with a little rearranging. I thought Addison was happy watching Baby Einstein in the living room (safely buckled in her bouncy seat, of course) while I bathed and dressed Mackenzie. WRONG. About halfway through the bath, I heard her start screaming. It was not pretty. On top of everything else, the girls have gotten close to rolling over a few times, so I can't leave them on the changing pad to run and get the other like I used to...just to make life a little more difficult. : ) I finally got Addison calm and Mackenzie dressed, and what do you know...Mackenzie decided she was done being patient for the night also! It was quite a loud and unhappy hour until we finally settled down to eat the bedtime bottle at 8:15. Luckily, the feeding went smoothly and both babies were in their cribs fast asleep at 8:45.
Tonight prompted me to think back on those early days, and how stressed out we all were (the babies and me). Some nights, I cried right along with them as I tried to do anything I could to bring us all a little peace. Tonight, although a little reminiscent of those days, was so very different. Tonight, I know it was just a bad night...everyone is entitled to those, right? The crying doesn't stress me out like it did for awhile. My kids don't cry much at all, and I've realized that if I can't run and grab the one who is crying immediately (like when the other is in the bath, for instance), it WILL be okay. I hope my girls never resent that as twins, one always has to wait her turn...but it's a fact of life. Even though there were more tears than usual tonight, I kept my cool and even still managed to enjoy the time with my girls. I remind myself that when they wake me up in the morning, it will most likely be with squeals and smiles. The slate will be wiped clean, and we will begin again...hoping for an easy, pleasant day, but making the most of even the bad ones.