July 17, 2009

Bedtime Battles Revisited

So, we were at the Pediatrician this morning and he asked about their sleeping habits. When I told him, he was shocked and he said to me, "Twins are supposed to be harder. Don't tell anyone else about this or all the other parents will be jealous." Having read the previous Bedtime Battles Blog, you may be wondering what terrors he has been dealing with, but actually, a lot has changed...

When we were on vacation, everything seemed to click. I don't know exactly what it was. We thought it was that the babies were so worn out from watching the "big kids" all day, but it has been consistent and even better since we've been home. We thought it was THE swing (a big swing rather than our little travel ones) that our friends gave us (they had a similar sleeper to Ryan and THE swing helped her), but we have been "practicing" having him not sleep in THE swing and 9 out of 10 times he falls asleep easily in his basinette.

Now, I lay them down for bed, or their naps and they fuss. Sometimes they cry hard, but never for long. Usually, within 5 minutes it's silent. Sometimes longer, but almost never longer than 15 minutes. If it is longer than 15 minutes it's always only one baby. If it's Ryan I put him in his swing (because he cannot settle down when you try to rock him to sleep), and he's out within 5 minutes. If it's Allie I take her and rock her (because she cannot settle down in the swing) and she's out within 5 minutes! For naps they sleep 45-90 minutes consistently and occasionally 2 hrs. At night they almost always sleep at least 8 hours - it is a rare occassion when one of them sleeps less. Almost every night one of them sleeps 10 hours (but not always the same one every night). And a few times both have them have slept the ENTIRE night (11 hours!)!!!

I don't know what has brought about the change, but we are loving it! I can finally get things done during the day, and the sleep at night has made Lucas and I entirely different people. I know things will probably change once they start teething and there will be the ocassional sickness that will throw everything into a tailspin, but we're fully enjoying the sleep for now!

July 14, 2009

Two of a Kind

I often get asked 2 questions. The first is if the twins are identical - after they have been told it's a boy and a girl. It is a shockingly little known fact that they cannot be identical if they are not of the same gender. They do look similar though. You can definitely tell they are brother and sister. The second is if they are aware of each other and/or if they interact with each other. The answer is that they definitely are and they often do.

While I do my best to treat them as individuals (because they are not the same baby, and, although they are a matched set in my mind, I have to remind myself of that fact), they often shock me with their "Oneness." Like the time that one grunted and pushed and the other one pooped (without effort...I was so confused!). Or the many times I've been patting one's back and the other on burped (this happens at least once a week)! They also seem to, without effort or any visible communication, double team me often. Like today when they wouldn't sleep at the same time. They would for about 10 minutes and then one would wake up. I would remove the awake one (so he or she couldn't wake the other), get him or her back to sleep, and just as I was sneaking back to put them in bed I would hear the other one awake. This happened throughout the entire naptime all day, and I'm convinced that they knew what they were doing!

I also KNOW that they are aware of each other. Allie seems especially tuned into her brother's presence. Their first time in the pool Allie freaked out, until she was right next to her brother. She watched him, and as long as he was ok, she was. Often, when they are in their bouncy seats, she watches him play and trigger the lights even though she is fully capable of doing it herself. And the other day we were all watching Baby Mozart when it became painfully obvious that Ryan's diaper needed to be changed. I took him into the next room (I could see her, but she wasn't looking at me), and suddenly heard her screaming. The Baby Einstein dragon puppet scared her, but once Ryan was beside her again she was fine - even when the puppet came back on the screen! Allie also often tries to help me burp Ryan. I don't think she knows exactly what she's doing, but she pats his back right along with me. And the other day she tried desperately to catch hold of his flailing hand. Ryan is similarly aware of her, although not generally as reliant of her presence. Although he was desperately trying to gnaw on her arm today!

And finally, I often find them "talking" to each other. They happily babble to each other - taking turns as if they were having a conversation. If I interrupt they both smile to me as if they are welcoming me into their circle, but I never get to fully be a part of the conversation. It is most adorable in the morning - when they are both turned toward the other one in their side-by-side basinettes, hands touching the thin fabric that separates them. They chatter happily and then smile the cutest smiles when my face appears above - although I confess I often stay in bed longer just to hear them talk.

There is no denying it. While they are most definitely individuals, they are also certainly two of a kind.

July 09, 2009

The newest member of our family

Tuesday evening the newest member of the Miller family was born - Harper Grace. We are so excited for Logan & Mindy, and the twins are very excited (as I'm sure you can tell from the picture) for their new cousin. I have many happy memories of playing with my cousins when I was younger, and was so disappointed early on because they wouldn't have any cousins their age. But then we found out Harper was on the way and we were thrilled! A cousin only a couple months younger than they are! It doesn't get much better! She is such a beautiful a beautiful little girl, and we are so thankful for her safe arrival!
A few funny anecdotes:
Yesterday I took the twins outside to cut their nails (they get fresh air. I don't have to clean up nail clippings. It's the perfect spot!). I was clipping Ryan's toenails when I noticed one of his nail slivers walking! An ant (hidden under the nail) had picked it up and was taking it away!
The last few weeks, after I put the twins down for their nap, I would frequently hear the faint sound of a baby crying. I would check the monitor and the lights wouldn't register any sound (even when I was still hearing the crying), I would go and listen in at the door, I would even walk around the house to see if I was hearing something outside. Nothing. This would happen several times a day, and I was beginning to wonder about my sanity. Then, yesterday, I happened to be in checking on the babies when I heard it. They were both obviously sleeping, but I was definitely hearing the crying (no question in my mind, as there had been other times). Suddenly I realized where it was coming from...I had made a recording on my digital recorder of running water to help soothe the babies to sleep. While I was making the recording (at the sink in the bathroom), Ryan had woke up and started crying, and I had taken him into the kitchen. The faint sound of a baby crying was the recorder picking up the sound of Ryan's cries in the other room! You can't imagine my relief!

July 02, 2009

Good Friends

As mentioned in the previous post, we spent the last week vacationing with our dear friends from seminary. This year was our 5th summer vacationing together, and a lot has changed! Those of you who have followed us from the beginning may remember the post about our first vacation (where the girls had an amazing fish story to tell!), and may remember this picture. This was taken at the end of our first vacation together. As you can tell from this year's picture below, a lot has changed! Not only are there more children, but we noticed that all of us adults look a little older as well (though we certainly don't feel it...)! It has been a blessing to have such wonderful friends, and to not only have a friendship that has lasted and grown through many life changes, but to also have this cherished time every year with them!

The rest of our vacation was really wonderful. The twins continued to sleep! They also dipped their feet into the ocean for the first time (ok, so we may have helped...)! They seemed to enjoy their beach experiences. Some of our favorite moments were: when LJ (4yrs) & JJ (18mos.) danced for our babies - they didn't fuss when they big kids were dancing. Hearing JJ say Allie's name (with the L sound very drawn out - All-llie - so cute!). Ryan giggling when LJ hopped like a frog. Playing "Dolls Go Fishing" with LJ (which you will be able to view on YouTube soon!). Playing "Match Mate" with Josh & Kim. The Kims' afternoon off (the daddys held down the fort alone...and survived!). And resting and relaxing with good friends.

The drive home proved to be a bit rough. Both Allie & Ryan had let us know that they were pretty much done with vacation before we had left...yet, initially did very well on the trip home. But we kept hitting traffic - construction, holiday, accident, torrential rain - you name it and it somehow slowed us down. We ended up spending a cumulative 2 hours crawling along (or sitting still all together), and by the end the twins had had it. The last 2 hours of the trip one or both of them were screaming. However, when we got home we brought them into their room and set them down, and they both looked around so relieved. Ryan actually started giggling! Allie just smiled and smiled as she looked around. They were so excited to be home! And honestly, we were too. Vacation was wonderful, but there is no place like home.