Bringing them home was a scary thing for me...there were so many questions going through my mind, like how do you pick them both up at once and still support their heads? These were a few things I was just going to have to figure out. Adam was able to be at home for two weeks before returning to work and then my mom took a week off to spend with me...then it was all me. *Insert scary music here*
I had read the book, "On Becoming Babywise"...and that helped so much with knowing how to breastfeed them. Also, I learned how to put them on a schedule.
The girls slept with us for the first week and then I needed to start getting them used to getting in to their own beds in order for Adam to get good sleep to go to work in the morning. We had a basinett right next to the bed that they slept in.
I remember the first night we got home all the books had said that when one wakes up, you wake the other one up too. Yeah right...who can wake a sleeping baby? So when one of them woke up, I would take her in to her room to feed her in the rocking chair, then quietly put her back in bed and think I was going to get a little sleep before the other would wake up, yeah right. As soon as I put one down the other would wake up and I would take her in and feed her and quietly put her back in bed...and it was time for the other one to wake up. AHHHH! Getting up 8 times in the first night taught me real quick to wake them up and feed them at the same time. :)
Once we started putting them in the basinett...I needed Adam's help. So when they would wake up, I would take one, he would bring me one. I would always change their diapers in the middle of the feeding to wake them up a little so they would keep eating. Then when they were almost finished, I would call to Adam and he would put the heating pad in the basinett (under their blankets) to keep it warm so they got back in to a cozy bed. If you don't have a heating pad, you could put their blankets in the dryer and swaddle them in toasty warm blankets too. We never had any issues with them falling right back asleep in their cozy, warm bed.
This did not go on very long however, due to the schedule that I put them on after reading the Babywise book, my girls slept through the night at 12 weeks old. It would have been 9 weeks old, but they were waking each other up.
I kept them in the same crib until they were 8 months old. They were each others comfort and I had read that if you separate them, they are more likely to get sick . So keeping them together was awesome and they did perfect.
I was very blessed to be able to breastfeed for a year and a week. I would hold them "football hold" and I just knew that when I had to feed them one at a time because they were getting so big, that's when I would be done breastfeeding. They never got too big, their little butts just kept scooting back.
So it was time to start a routine right after Adam had to go back to work and the girls were 2 weeks old. That was a little interesting, but the best thing we have ever done. The routine was feed, wake, sleep (just like it told us in Babywise). So the girls would eat, I would read books to them (even at 2 weeks old) and they loved it. The Mother Goose nursery rhymes would work perfect. They were short and they rhymed and it would keep their attention. My husband did not believe that they would really listen at 2 weeks old until he saw it for himself. It was amazing. We had more books than any one human being needs...I used to hit yard sales with kids stuff and buy all the kids books. It was awesome.
And I really owe my girls being so advanced to reading to them since they were two weeks old. They are in first grade and were just tested at a 4th grade reading and comprehension level and got 96%.
Now the schedule was going good and every week or so we would up the amount of time that they would stay awake. That was fun...it went from 15 minutes to 20 to 30+. Being able to spend more time with my girls awake was so much fun. We started playing a little on the ground with toys, etc.
When they hit the 4 month mark, I was thrilled...we got to start cereal. I had always imagined this as such a really fun thing to do. They were going to be little baby birds and I was going to feed them. I decided that I would pump my milk and that is what I would mix the cereal with. The girls loved the cereal, however the delivery of the cereal did not go quite as expected. The first day we started cereal...I had them in their high chairs and would give one of them one bite and then the other a bite and so forth and so on. This had to be one of the MOST stressful days yet because all they did the entire time was SCREAM cuz they wanted another bite quicker than I was giving them one. Holy Cow...this was going to take some getting used to. I was feeding them super fast (so I thought) but not fast enough for them. I coulnd't wait for them to be done quick enough so I could breastfeed them they could CALM DOWN!! Phew!
Now the first Babywise book I read took me from conception to 5 months old...and the next one took me from 5 months to 15 months. This was called "On Becoming Babywise II". In the back of the book, it taught us about 15 signs to teach our children sign language so they could be able to communicate during feeding time when they knew what they wanted to say, you just couldn't understand them. I thought this was the coolest idea ever. I had always wanted to learn sign language and there was no better way than by teaching my girls. So we started at 4 months old. By 8 months old, they were signing back to me!! It blew me away...the system worked. They knew the signs for more, milk, water, all done, mom, dad, please, thank you, hungry, thirsty, yes, no. Very simple signs but they could do SO much!
We decided that since they learned those so easy, that I would keep on with this whole "sign language thing". So we got a book that taught me more signs so that I could incorporate them into our daily life. It was so much fun. The girls were picking up on signs left and right. Every word that we said had a sign that went with it. One of my friends learned that they could do sign language and she got a hold of a number for us that was for an audition for a Baby Einstein baby signing video. I am not a big fan of exploiting my kids. I would not ever have them in a movie or commercial unless they came to me and asked me to be. I'm not against others doing that, just didn't want to do it for us. But a video that was sign language, this was something we already knew. So when the girls were 13 months old, they were called to audition for the Baby Signs (produced by Baby Einstein) videos. We were pretty excited...at that moment they knew over 75 signs that we signed on a daily basis. Again, every word had a sign. After auditioning, they told us that we would know if our child made it in to a video because they would send it to us. And that was that.
So we waited for about 1 1/2 years and here came two DVDs in the mail. They had made it in the DVDs!
I remember the moments during the first year when I just didn't know if I could do this. I actually became very strict with people just "dropping by". I would put a note on the front door when they were sleeping that would say..."PLEASE DON'T KNOCK...babies are sleeping. Sorry for the inconvenience, please call before you come over next time." I was blown away at how well that worked. Everyone used to say, "Kandi, you have to expose them to noise or they will be light sleepers." Considering I was a stay at home mom, the house wasn't noisy anyway when they were sleeping. So when the UPS guy would come to the door and pound as hard as he could, that would wake my babies up. And when the girls slept during that first year, I would sleep. So if someone was going to just "drop by", I would not be able to rest when the girls did. The sign was a life saver and I recommend it to anyone.
I found that paying bills was a little challenging due to the fact that I barely could brush my teeth during the day, it was close to impossible to actually get my checkbook and pay bills. This was when I finally resorted to online bill pay. Ahhhh! What a blessing that was. We wouldn't have had electricity if it wasn't for online bill pay.
My husband really didn't have a lot of choice in what his role in this whole "fatherhood" thing was going to be...he got home from work and he got a baby! After spending all day with both girls, Adam would get a baby, he would feed that baby, bathe her, and rock her to sleep.
Then there was "fussy time"...oh my. To think there is actually such a thing. There was. It was at about 7pm every night. My mom worked right across the street from where we lived and she would come over every single night when she got off work to help with one of the babies. You see at this "fussy time" they would just cry and all we could do was hold and rock them. We would sing to them, we realized that this was just something that babies went through but still, it was over an hour of straight crying. Neither one of them woudl cry for more than 5 minutes at a time, they would cry for each other. Take turns if you will. Oh my! So for me, it was listening to over an hour of straight crying. I would look so hard for my happy place, I was never very successful, but I would look. My mom would come over so she could take a baby. So she would take Adam's "baby" and he would eat dinner, then she would take the baby that I had and I would eat. Adam and I would switch babies every day so we didn't have the night time routine with the same baby every night. That way we could spread our love to both of our babies. My mom was a life saver! During that time she worked for the Fire Academy and there was a really bad fire in our state that she had to go to. She was gone for 3 weeks! Talk about tough love...Adam and I had not ever done the night time routine without my mom. The girls were 7 months old, we figured it was probably time to start learning how.