Archive for November, 2011

More cute bath pics!

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Posting a few bathtime pics the other day reminded me that I have more cute ones.

We were home two weeks before we tackled bathing the girls. Bill had helped prep bath time in the NICU once, but it was handled by the night shift nurses and neither of us had seen it done. However, we assumed that thorough preparation could prevent most bathtime trauma. So while the girls were sleeping, we set up the bathing station:

  • placed their bath tub in the kitchen sink,
  • used our Raytek MiniTemp to verify the water temperature at 105°F, and
  • threw their hooded towels and clean onesies in the dryer to get warm and fluffy.

Once everything was ready, we woke the girls one by one and Bill whisked each of them through a quick bath. In just a few minutes, the girls were clean, dry, and dressed again with nary a complaint. Go team!

Bathing station all ready

Cate still sacked out pre-bath

Sam copacetic post-bath

Bill, the successful Daddy Bather

So many things I’m thankful for…

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

I’m thankful for significant things this season: the safe arrival of our two delightful daughters, recovering my health after their delivery, my patient and loving husband, and help from our family and friends.

Our Thanksgiving gathering today included four generations, from our Gran’mom at 95 to our daughters at just six weeks. With two daughters who dictate their own schedules, preparing dinner took longer than usual. But I really enjoyed the company.

I hope your Thanksgiving brought you joy, too.

24-hour Daddy

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Burping has become one of the most-important activities around here. Babies, like grown-ups, produce gas as they digest. And they apparently swallow air, too, which only adds to the challenge. If we diligently help our girls burp and expel the gas, they sleep better.

When we’re unable to get them to burp, and the gas proceeds through their digestive tract, they get very uncomfortable, waking repeatedly and abruptly with the screaming meemies. Scooping them up and resting them on our chests not only comforts them, but also helps their digestive process along. Fortunately for the girls, and unfortunately for Bill, he’s invested a lot of quality time comforting gassy girls, both day and night.

Cate, Sam, and Bill

Who’s setting the agenda?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Monday afternoon, I was somehow rested enough to think, “Hey! We should order some take-out for dinner and pick it up now while the girls are sleeping, so that it will be here and ready for us as soon as we finish feeding them.” But about five minutes later, the first of our daughters squawked and just like that, it was already Their Dinner Time.

About 90 minutes later, after the girls were fed and had had some “vertical time” to aid digestion and prevent acid reflux, we put them down to sleep again. I ordered us ravioli and salads from Romano’s and then commenced pumping breast milk for later. When I finished that, I went out to retrieve our food. When I got home, Bill and I settled into the couch, turned on a TiVo’d episode of Top Gear, and pronounced it Our Dinner Time.

A short time later, Cate squawked again. She was awake and ready for what we’re calling a “bonus feed.” Once or twice a day, the girls are hungry again on a shorter-than-usual cycle time. We like accommodating them because it helps them sleep longer on the subsequent sleep cycle, and sleeping longer is our highest ambition these days. I collected Cate and began feeding her. instead of it being our dinner time, it was suddenly Their Dinner Time again.

A little after that, Sam followed suit. Bill collected her, made a bottle of formula since I was tapped out, and began feeding her. Early in that process, he stopped, dismayed and said, “Little girl, you’re all wet again!” An earlier diaper-out-of-place moment had already bought Sam a new onesie, and it sounded like she was headed for another, but no! Instead, Bill was on the receiving end of our household’s first Diaper Blow-Out. There was poo on her onesie that quickly became poo on Bill’s shorts, hand, shirt… and just like that, it was abruptly Bath Time.

We set up the tub, threw their towels in the dryer to warm, got the water temperature just right, and thoroughly bathed Sam. With the bathing station all set up, it made sense to go ahead and bathe Cate, too.

Sam in their tub, all wet

Cate, warm and dry again

Note: these photos were from their bath a week earlier.

Once they were both clean, dry, diapered, and dressed again, we went back to Their Dinner Time. Another 45 minutes later, after more eating and more vertical time, the girls were sleepy and we took them back to bed again. By then, the ravioli was cold and the crema rosa was long-since congealed, and we felt ready for Bed Time, but it was finally Our Dinner Time again. Dinner hit several detours between its 5:05 pm plan and its 9:30 pm completion, but I guess we should get used to that, because the very next thing on our agenda is often delayed 3-4 hours by their agenda.

Tiny pumpkins!

Monday, November 21st, 2011

It’s that pumpkin time of year when the cool girls dress up as pumpkin fairies. Our cousin Harriet knitted adorable tiny pumpkin hats that let Sam and Cate play, too:

Thanks, Harriet!

p.s. I really thought I was smiling when we took these photos, but alas, I just look tired.

Due date

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Today — November 16 — was our nominal due date, if we’d carried singleton babies to term. However, Sam and Cate are five weeks old and flirting with 8 pounds each.

I caught Bill flirting with Sam this afternoon and thought I’d share:

Sam’s tiny (or huge, depending on your perspective) hand

Sam’s tiny feet

Bill and Sam

Making do with just two hands…

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Most of the time, there’s one of us to care for each girl, two on two. But sometimes — like Friday when Bill took a shower — there are still two of them and just one me. Bill finished feeding Cate and went to take a shower. But before I finished feeding Sam, Cate ceased to be happy in the bouncy chair.

Looking at this photo, I no longer remember how I managed to pick up the one without dropping the other, but I did. And fortunately, Bill got out of the shower just a few minutes later.

Bob, Cate, and Sam

Incidentally, this photo was taken on November 11, when the girls were one month old. Happy birthday, Sam and Cate!

We’ve got mail!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

A few days ago, we spotted our postal carrier struggling to shove a handful of mail into our mailbox. It dawned on us that we hadn’t brought in the mail in quite… some… time. Other priorities, you know.

In the spirit of making her job easier, I brought in the mail yesterday, and it took me 4-6 minutes just to unwedge and extract all of the mail from our very large mailbox. It made an impressive pile on the counter. One of these days, we’ll probably open most of it. Eventually…

Worry about the right things

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Here’s the usual order of things around here: girl wakes up, parent changes her diaper, parent feeds her, some amount of interaction occurs, then girl falls asleep again for 2-4 hours. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Yesterday afternoon, Cate woke up and I got ready to change her diaper. I laid her on our bed because I like the height of it, and unfastened her diaper.

To my startlement, her diaper seemed dry, even though she’d been in it for three hours. I pulled it for further inspection, and turned to discuss the situation with Bill. I was worried: why hadn’t our daughter peed?

At which point, she did. On our bed. Wearing no diaper. Bill had a good laugh and I changed our sheets.

Note to self: a baby who hasn’t peed, soon will!

Little outing: voting on election day

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Sleep deprivation is a ubiquitous affliction of new parents… at least the ones of us who don’t have full-time help. The most-affordable remedy is to sleep whenever the babies sleep, and on Tuesday, that’s what I did. In fact, I kept going back to sleep until 2:00 pm!

At that point, we fed the girls, and then Bill went out to run errands, leaving me free to contemplate (what was left of) my day. It eventually dawned on me that it was November 8 and election day.

As a civic activist the last seven years, I’ve been interested in and sometimes worked to influence city elections. As a new parent, I know that school board elections need my attention, too. Proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution should almost always be opposed, though they almost always pass anyway.

This year, I had no attention to spare for electoral races, beyond putting out yard signs for my friends David and Ellen. Nonetheless, as Tuesday afternoon turned to evening, we couldn’t quite accept the prospect of not voting.

So even though we had to interrupt feeding time to do it, we bundled the girls into the car and raced the three blocks to Grace Lutheran. We arrived just as Toby, our neighbor and election volunteer, was preparing to close the doors. But we managed to squeak in and vote just before 7:00 pm.

Ellen won her race handily with an outright majority. David did well but not well enough to make it into a runoff. But we’re glad we went because we want to teach Cate and Sam that participating in our democracy is important.

Sam getting the second half of her dinner

p.s. At just four weeks old, the girls have minimal control of their extremities, so this gesture was just a coincidence. However, Bill chose to take it as editorial commentary on our interrupting Sam’s dinner.