Five Months of Twinning

Note that this was started around the time the boys actually turned five months old, which is two weeks after this post is being finished.

Fawkes and Phoenix entered our lives in the opening hours of one Saturday morning five months ago. So what’s going on with them and our lives these days? What’s it like having five-month-old twin boys?

Let’s start with sleep, since that’s what everyone always asks about. They’re still not sleeping through the night, but they are getting better. We wake them up for their dream feed between midnight and 1:00. They’re getting to be pretty good about not waking up before that, though one of them (usually Phoenix) is usually restless somewhere between 11:10 and 11:30, which, if I’m up, is usually my cue to go ahead and warm up the bottles. If they continue being restless I get them up the next time they make noise, otherwise I’ll wait until about 12:30. If I happen to be in bed, it’s whenever they wake us up. The 4-5:00 hours get a little rougher, with one of them or the other or both waking up sporadically.

Our daily routine goes something like this:

7:00 Feeding time. I’ve gotten to where I’ll put their bibs on before I get them out of the crib because they usually fuss when pretty heavily between the time I set them down and the time I can get a bottle in their mouths. Even though it’s only a few seconds, it makes it harder to get them settled in.

For feeding, I have the car seats set up in the pack & play. I put them in the seats and put a pillow in their laps and put the bottles on the pillow so that they’re angled in a way that each boy can suck the bottle. Tristen has said everything she’s read says you should have more contact with them when they’re eating, but there are two of them. Holding two babies partaking of two bottles presents all kinds of logistical challenges, so if they get fed two or three times a day like this, so be it. I don’t have to worry about one flailing around and trying to launch himself from my arms or figuring out how to clean up if one spits up this way.

And it’s not like I’m far from them. I’m usually right there with them to help make sure the bottles stay on track or I’m not too far away.

After the feeding we move around to different activities, changing when they become obviously bored. I usually let them hang out in the seat and play with some toys (or their bibs- they really like playing with their bibs). From there they’ll move to their seats that I have set up so they can look out at the backyard through the sliding glass doors. After that they’ll get to play in bouncy seats, then it’s tummy time with a few more toys. After that they might sit in their Bumbos and play with an activity table until naptime.

Sometimes we go for a walk around the neighborhood. We’ve walked to a creek before, we’ve walked to a store, we’ve walked to and around another nearby neighborhood.

9:00 Naptime. Or somewhere thereabouts, anyway. I try to push for as close to 9 as I can, but sometimes they’re just over life by 8:40 or so, especially on days when they’re awake a bit before 7:00. This is when I start answering emails and such.

11:00 Feeding time again. Repeat the previous awake time, but no walks; it’s usually too hot for walks around midday.

If I’ve asked and their Aunt Torrie is able to watch them, this is around the time I take them to her house. If it’s not too bad out we might walk the block down there, but if it’s hot or rainy I take the car.

1:00 Naptime again, although this nap doesn’t seem to usually last quite as long as the others. If one of them is going to have trouble napping, it’s during this time. I get some work done.

3:00 Feeding time once more. Despite how I said this last nap was the one they have trouble with, it’s also one they will more often stay down longer for, although I’ll get them up by 3:15 or 3:20 usually by the latest.

4:00 Mommy’s home! Sometimes a little before 4. It’s nice that she can go in early and get off early, relative to most people’s workdays anyway. This is the time I check out from baby duty and start focusing more on work. The tough thing is that she’s alwasy ready to play with them and I’ll often hear the boys laughing at their mom and want to go watch, then get inevitable sucked in for a bit. Still, I mostly get to really focus on work at this time.

5:00 Short nap, mainly because they can’t make it all the way to 7:00 without getting really grumpy, so they get a quick nap.

6:00 Bathtime. Tristen and I generally alternate shower days with the boys. One of us will get in the shower and wash up then call out, “Okay!” upon which the one of us who is showering will be presented with a naked baby boy, usually whichever one is more irate at the time.

I have a system for this where I hold them up facing me with their back against towards the shower stream. I say, “Okay. 3… 2… 1!” Then I blow in their face to get them to breathe in and close their eyes and plunge them under the stream to get them nice and wet. They usually open their eyes before I’m done, but not once has either boy cried.

From there I get some soap and name their body parts as I’m washing them: “Belly, chest, neck, armpit, other armpit, shoulder, bicep, forearm, wrist, hand, palm, thumb, pointer, middle, ring, and pinky fingers.” Repeat for the other side then get another pump of soap. “Thigh, knee, calf, ankle, heel, foot, the sole of your foot, big toe, your other toes.” Then we get to the nether regions, where I say a few names for butt and name their private parts using accurate adult words. From there, it’s “Back, hair, behind your ears, forehead, cheeks, chin.”

Then we count down again and take another plunge to rinse them off, making sure to get the crease areas (neck, legs) really well.

Once a boy is done, the showering parent calls out, “Okay!” again, after which the other parent will appear with a towel to wrap the baby in, disappear, then reappear with the other baby.

Meanwhile, the other parent is taking care of the non-shower baby, which usually entails trying to keep the non-showering baby from crying too much or diapering and dressing the just-showered baby. It’s also that parent’s responsibility to get the bottles ready and heated up.

After both babies have been showered and the showering parent has dried off and covered themselves (be it a towel or clothing), we feed the babies, burp them, then read something to them. If Milly’s around, she’ll usually do the reading while Tristen and I hold them on the couch with their WubbaNub (a pacifier attached to a small stuffed animal).

7:00 Bedtime. Once the reading is done, often somewhere between 6:40 and 7:00 (we strive for the latter), each boy is given a kiss and put in separate cribs. My routine is to kiss the one I don’t have and say, “I love you, [whicheverbabyitis],” kiss the other one and say the same, put him down, tell them, “Good night, boys,” then leave the room. I’ll close the curtains if they haven’t been closed yet and will grab the bottles if Tristen hasn’t already.

After that we eat, which has lately been cereal if Milly isn’t around, then I’ll get back to work, which I do sometimes until 2:00 in the morning, although more often lately I’ve just been doing it until feeding time. Tristen is usually in bed by 8 or 9.

When the boys were waking up more before the late feeding, I would tend to them when I heard them cry. I figured there was no point in Tristen getting up if I’m already up, but it’s frustrating sometimes, so Tristen has recently decided to try to stay up later when I’m working, or at least keep the monitor on with no noise machine going in our room so she can try to be more responsive.

But what about the boys themselves, lately?

They’re certainly turning into their own people. A few observations about them:

  • Fawkes sleeps easier
  • Phoenix likes attention more when awake
  • I think Fawkes is better at grabbing and playing with things
  • Phoenix was able to roll over from his stomach to his back more consistently first
  • It’s easier to make Fawkes laugh when tickling him
  • Phoenix is the more vocal of the two

I think their blue eyes are here to stay. They have beautiful clear blue eyes, especially when you see them in the sunlight. I joke with people that it’s nice someone got my eyes, since Milly apparently didn’t want them.

They also have their mom’s dimples.

Both of them have balding old man hair. We were looking at pictures from when they were just born and it’s crazy how dark and thick their hair was then. I know it’s common for babies to lose their hair then grow it back, but I thought that maybe since Milly never lost her hair, they wouldn’t either. Despite this, Fawkes still has his little part in the front of his head that was our first identifying mark for him.

They poop differently, which I’m sure is because Phoenix is on soy formula while Fawkes is on the regular stuff. Fawkes tends to have blowouts while Phoenix has what I call “Phoenix nuggets.” Phoenix’s are much easier to clean and much less likely to sneak up out of the diaper and get on your shirt.

Speaking of formula, Tristen stopped pumping and is done with breastfeeding. I think the last time ever will have been at my parents’ house when we were there for our Fourth of July weekend.

They’ve been drooling excessively for a while, so we thought they might have started teething already, but we’ve felt no evidence of that.

That’s about all I can think of that’s going on at the five-month mark. I’ll try to be more prompt with the six-month update.