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It’s been… A while.

So much is happening and part of me wants to document every single minute. Every second. Every breath, every heartbeat.

But the other part of me struggles to find the time. And I wish for a few more hours in the day, but as that’s never going to happen, I’ll have to settle for updating this blog about twice a year!

I am busy (work stuff), we are busy (family stuff) and the girls are changing and growing day by day.

Back before the summer holidays we (the girls and I) met up with Carley. We had a brilliant day, aided – from my point of view – by the girls having an early but EPIC nap, which meant Carley and I could have a proper chat and gossip before they woke up. Which was really great. We had chatted back and forth via Facebook and Twitter and Carley was hugely instrumental in me setting this blog up as self-hosted (and my subsequent ability to set up a new website for the twins club we go to!) but this was the first time we had met in the real world. You never really know what it’s going to be like finally meeting people from the blogosphere, but (and I hope Carley agrees!) it felt just like old friends catching up, which was so lovely.

We have also had the summer holidays and all four of us at home, which was just brilliant. We did quite a few day trips and a couple of mini breaks to visit family.

We are now back into the grind of normal back-to-school life and I am once again doing the Shakespeare project at school, which this year means the girls are staying one night a week at my mum and step dad’s. They are really enjoying it and, although I know they miss us, I think we are actually possibly missing them more!

I am still breastfeeding but we have recently cut out night feeds. I did it really gently by reading them a story about milky going to sleep at night and buying them a gro clock so they have a clear idea of when it is morning. We had a week or so of slight resistance – a few weepy cuddles – but now they both know and understand the limits and will happily talk during the day about what times they can have milky. It hasn’t had a dramatic effect in their sleep (yet?) but Claudia has slept through the night twice – at my mum’s! She did almost STTN at home a few nights ago, but Immie woke her up!

Near the beginning of the summer holidays we made the transition from cots to toddler beds. They love their big girl beds and still get excited when they walk into their bedroom and see them!

They have been two for two months now and so far the tantrums are no worse than they were before – although they do still happen!

They are talking more and more going through phases of saying various things and learning new phrases and concepts

Lone ranger

I’m now embarking on my eighth day alone with the twins.  It’s not been as bad as I feared.

The first day felt totally non-stop and I texted L saying we needed some kind of routine as I had constantly gone from one baby to the other.  We have been given two baby books so we looked at those to see if they were likely to help.  One is ‘A Contented Household with Twins’ by Gina Ford and Alice Beer.  I’d heard of Gina Ford before and hadn’t liked the sound of the enforced routine, although looking at the book, the idea of a two and a half hour nap in the middle of the day greatly appealed as there had not been one point when the babies were asleep at the same time and I’d got nothing done.

However, we looked at it together and thought about the practicalities of the routine given for 6-8 week old twins and where I thought we would find it hard was actually making the twins nap at certain times – particularly in their own beds.  During the day, the babies have always fallen asleep in someone’s arms or in their bouncy chairs – often with the vibrate function on and/or someone rocking them.  Claudia in particular doesn’t like to sleep in her bassinet at night, so I really wasn’t convinced I’d be able to get her to sleep in there during the day, especially as I was on my own and therefore having to settle one child at a time, risking the screaming from one waking the other.  We decided that the routine given wouldn’t really work for us.

The other book we have been given is Babybliss by Jo Ryan.  This book is not written with twins in mind, but is a much gentler approach to the idea of routine, saying only that small babies need lots of sleep and that they should be working on a 3 hour rolling pattern of eat, burp, play, sleep, with a nappy change in there somewhere too.  The book describes a settling technique to get the baby to sleep, however, our attempt at using that and settling the babies in their own beds after their bath resulted in hours of screaming and L eventually taking Claudia out in the car to try and get her off to sleep.

In the end, I decided to take things right back to basics and just try to make sure the babies were fed at around the same time and only every three hours.  Our main problem (described in the Jo Ryan book) is that our babies have been grazing and cat napping, meaning their stomachs are never really empty enough for a full feed, so they then only sleep for short amounts of time and wake up wanting food again.

So far the three hour cycle is working pretty well and I’m having opportunities to get stuff done whilst they nap at the same time – like now for instance.  It also means I know when to expect them to be hungry, which is helpful when out and about.  Sometimes they do still want feeding in between times, but we can calm them with a dummy or a bit of cooled boiled water from a bottle.

I really feel like I’m getting on top of it all.  There are still bad days of course.  After their first nap on Tuesday, they were both grumpy and grizzly and didn’t really sleep again after that.  But on the whole they do eat and then nap, sometimes even sleeping longer than their next feeding time.

Yesterday I managed to get out to a baby group, which was great.  There is also a twins group on a Tuesday that we’re going to try to get to next week.  We then had to get to the doctor’s so the babies could have their check up and jabs.  The doctor was really impressed with how well all three of us are doing – she said I looked the least tired and stressed of the three twin mums she’d seen this week.  The girls are both healthy and happy and I’m going to get them weighed next week as our appointments with the doctor and nurse took so long we couldn’t also make it to the health visitor in the one afternoon.

The girls were really brave having their jabs – it is horrible hearing them cry and knowing that it’s from real pain, however momentary it is  – and we made sure we were stocked up with Calpol in case they got a fever.  Claudia spent most of the evening screaming and I was worried we were going to be in for a very long night, but actually when it came to bedtime, I put her in her bassinet and she stayed there all night, waking up just once to feed, which is a first for us.

Having the routine has really helped and I’m also getting a little time away from the babies as I’m going into school once or twice a week to direct another Shakespeare play, like we did last year with Macbeth.  This year we’ve been given The Tempest and the performance is October 19th, which isn’t far away.  It’s really nice having that time doing something different and feeling a different set of demands.  My mum and mother-in-law are handling the babysitting and so far the girls have behaved themselves.

Having felt so desperate before trying things on my own, I’m now quietly confident that things will be all right and that I can handle most of what they throw at me.  I know I’ll have good days and bad days, but I feel like I can do this.

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