Avery and Lily are three months old and weigh about 12 pounds. Every day they do something new. Noel and I are on our toes at all times. For instance, Avery managed to flip herself over, from tummy to back, by using the momentum from swinging her head with all her might. We were all surprised, her most of all. Lily absolutely loves music. Her eyes light up as soon as she hears the first notes of a song. A lot of people have asked me what it’s like having twins. People seem pretty curious about how it all works. I can only speak to what it’s like to have 3 month old twins on this day. Tomorrow could be a whole new ball game. Here are some insights into what life is like with Avery and Lily and some of the lessons we have learned.
Invading Army vs. Hurricane
Several of the baby books I read during pregnancy used the metaphor of an invading army when discussing the arrival of a newborn. Since I’m a native of the Gulf Coast, I identify better with the metaphor of a hurricane. Hurricanes are forces of nature with no malicious intent, but if you reside in its path you are subject to the mayhem it can create. When preparing for a hurricane, there are certain steps most people take: buying batteries and strange items like transistor radios, and stocking up on non-perishable food, bottled water, and other household necessities. Some people even board up their windows to protect against air-born debris. With the help of friends and family, I amassed a magnificent stockpile. I started out with over 2,000 diapers from preemie to size 4, over 2,000 wipes, 48 rolls of paper towels, 48 rolls of toilet paper, 3 gallons of dishwashing liquid, 2 cases of hand soap, 1 case of dishwasher detergent packets, 1 gallon of hand sanitizer, 1 case of Lysol wipes, and approximately 9 gallons of laundry detergent. We also bought things we never needed before like vibrating bouncer seats, along with loads of batteries in various sizes. We even put plug covers in a few outlets regardless of the fact that Avery and Lily are not mobile. During a hurricane people often eat a lot of food that doesn’t require electricity to prepare. At this very moment I have 8 boxes of Special K cereal in my pantry. So I would say that our home is a bit more like that of one in the aftermath of a hurricane than one besieged by a foreign power.
Stacking the deck in my favor
It’s impossible to convey to a three month old who’s screaming to be fed that I got wrapped up in Words With Friends and forget to have her bottle ready. It’s is also no fun to deal with a diaper explosion and not have a receptacle ready to receive the “fall out.” I like to keep the deck stacked in my favor at all times by keeping all the necessities ready to go. The iPad will wait patiently. Lily will not.
One reason the deck is so often stacked in my favor is because we have a night nanny, for whom we are very thankful. If we did not have Bettye in our lives, we would be hollow shells of our former selves. We’re able to get a full night’s sleep Monday through Friday, knowing that Avery and Lily are being well cared for by Bettye and her assistant Gigi. Thankfully Bettye and Gigi are great friends, and she lets Gigi stay with her all night. Saturday and Sunday nights we are on our own. I go to bed at about 8:30, and Noel takes care of the babies until 2 am. At that point, he clocks out, and I clock in. When Bettye arrives Monday night, we are so grateful to leave our babies in her capable hands. Gigi is grateful too. She seems to get less sleep when we’re on the night shift, needing to monitor every move we make. It’s kind of bad when the dog doesn’t have total faith in you!
Whoever screams first, eats first
We feed Avery and Lily on a schedule. Lily eats at 9, 1, and 5 AM and PM. Avery eats at 9:30, 1:30, and 5:30 AM and PM. As soon as they got home from the hospital, I tweaked their schedules so that they wouldn’t be hungry at the exact same moment, as long as everything goes according to plan. There are lots of philosophies on how best to feed your baby, but all I know is that if we didn’t feed our twins on a schedule we’d have some unhappy babies. For the first month and a half, Avery was our lead eater. She simply ate the fastest. Six weeks ago, Lily decided to change that. Now Lily is our lead eater. As much as I like the comfort of a schedule, we don’t hold the schedule above the needs of the individual babies. If tomorrow Avery needs to eat first, then we’ll adapt. Neither girl is going to take it well if I tell them they can’t eat yet because the clock hasn’t struck 1:00. I read quite a few books while pregnant. Now that I’m in the thick of it I think that you need to put a plan in place that works for you and use common sense from there. It seems like anyone who’s had a baby deems herself qualified to write a book about raising children. There are a lot of books that make new parents feel like if they make one mistake they’ll ruin the child permanently, and many of them are written by people who’ve never even had a child. My gal pal Liz Vallette and I were joking about this topic, and she says she’s going to write a book entitled The Martini Drinker’s Guide to Pregnancy. I think it would be a best seller.
We rarely take the girls out of the house. The primary reason is to minimize their exposure to germs. Another major reason is that we get mobbed like we’re escorting Justin Beiber through a middle school. People see that double stroller and go nuts. When we want to get out of the house, we take the babies to Lowe’s on Thursday mornings. Yes, the home improvement store. Men are less interested in babies, and it’s not packed on a Thursday morning. However, before we finish shopping, every female in the store will find us like they have some internal radar that picks up on us as soon as we step through the door.
One screaming baby is better than two screaming babies. If peace and quiet is not an option, choose the path of least screaming.
Channel your inner ninja when feeding babies in the wee hours of the night. In the cover of dark, move like a shadow. Their tummies will be full without them even knowing they’ve eaten.
If you use tweezers to extract a booger, do not expect a positive reaction. Like the game Operation, if you do not touch the sides you may get away with it. If you do touch the sides, there will be a very loud, unpleasant sound.
The Jinx is real. We never say things like, “I think the girls are going to be really calm today” or “I bet they’re going to sleep for hours.” Surely as soon as such words are uttered, the exact opposite happens. Noel and I have a solemn pact not to jinx one another when leaving the babies in the other one’s care.
Even a three month old can fake cough.
Clothing is optional. For the babies, not me. It’s also acceptable to wear the same onesie two days in a row if it’s clean. Likewise, we can change four times in a single day just because we have so many cute outfits. Bathing is also optional. For the babies, not me. We shoot for twice a week at the max.
Try not to confuse the formula and the coffee creamer. The results will be disastrous.
Don’t watch Dr. Oz. Seriously people. Just don’t.
Sometimes I can make the babies fall asleep just by talking to them, which is awesome yet somewhat insulting.
Using your toes for certain tasks when your hands are full is acceptable as long as no other adult is present.
Do not feel bad for taking the baby to her doctor appointment with masking tape holding her diaper together and wearing one sock. You made it there on time after all, even if you did have to drive over a grassy esplanade because you missed the driveway. That’s why you have an SUV. Oh yeah, If you’re reading this Dad, that didn’t really happen.
Lily’s first Easter.
Avery’s first Easter.