Sleep Diaries


Nighttime, for the past couple weeks, has been a bit rough. If this post is somewhat incoherent, I’m blaming it on the lack of sleep.

Last night we almost made it. We slept solidly from about 9:30, through the night with no interruptions…until 4:40 a.m. At that point, the crying in my dream became crying in reality, and D and I were awake in the bedroom in the dark. At first waking, I somehow assumed it was 6 am. My first thought was, “man, I feel tired,” and I had the sinking feeling that I would never wake up feeling rested again. Then I looked at the clock.

When we became conscious enough we could tell the crying was M. This was hopeful. M is usually not so difficult at night. A quick visit crib-side, lay her back down, a soothing tummy rub for a second or two and she’s back out, breathing deeply.

This time D went in for night duty. I heard him make his way around our bed; the babies’ doorknob clicked, then the nursery floor creaked as he crossed to the crib. For a moment there was no crying. Sweet silence. Then the floor creaked as he made his way out…”waaaah” another cry started up, E this time. D’s silhouette reappeared in the bedroom, quickly crossing to his side of the bed. “Damn! Damn! Damn!” We lay in the dark for a moment, not breathing, praying for her to fall back asleep.  The cries continued, increasing in urgency.

After that I don’t really remember (did we go back in, rock her, only to have the creaky floor wake her again as we tried to sneak out? Did they cry intermittently until 6, waking each other? Did I go in fruitlessly after 5 minutes, then 10, then 20? Eventually we brought E into our bed. Or was it M we brought?The nights blur together. In any case, there was no more sleep.)

It’s 9:20. Maybe I should go to bed.


No Good, Very Bad Day


Today was a pretty bad day. It started with a short, interrupted night of sleep. Then this morning I ran around trying to get out of the house in the one hour window between baby nap and lunch. My plan was to go to the store and buy whole milk for the babies, then run over to Penn Extension to get a soil testing kit for the backyard.

It was hot and muggy, I ran upstairs and down getting socks, shoes, carrying babies, searching for a sippy cups and snack cups, finally grabbing cell phone and keys and running out the door. By that point there were only about 20 minutes left before baby lunch time, and I basically ran with the double stroller in the ninety degree heat to Penn Extension, on a not very nice route across Penn Avenue, only to realize when I finally arrived that I’d forgotten my wallet.

Somewhere in there, too, I also got bad news about a job I’d applied for, and the landlord emailed to postpone work on our apartment for the umpteenth time.  Also, M dropped her snack trap cup somewhere on our run/walk, which means we now only have one of a very coveted and essential item. I also finally finished House of Mirth, which is partly a good thing, but partly added to the sadness of the day because 1) I felt like a bum that I couldn’t motivate to do anything but lie on the bed and read during baby nap time, and 2) It was the most depressing book I’ve read in years and I sobbed like a teenager.

So it wasn’t the best day, and the babies spent a good part of it being impatient, resentful of each other, crying. Still, we did take a walk out to the park and sit on a blanket for a while, and when I grabbed M and hugged her she laughed and then gave me two kisses. I turned for them to land on my cheek but she planted them right on my lips. They have been working a lot on kisses–E now makes something close to a kissing sound and M can make her little mouth like a guppy. So at least the babies seem fond of me, and I sure do love them.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Either that or I’m moving to Australia.

Sweet Potatoes, Sweat and Tears

It’s been a long day.

It started with one baby screaming at 4:45 a.m. We waited until maybe 5:15 and then decided just to feed them. We tried to put them down again afterward, but no go. D went grocery shopping and the over-tired babies cried. There was no sleeping at all, by anyone. When D finally got home I had one baby in a moby wrap, the other was in the crib still crying, and I was about to lose my mind. He put the second baby in a moby, and when they finally fell asleep we transferred them carefully to the crib.

We had wanted to go to a neighborhood baby play date at 10:30. No way we were going to wake the babies, though. At 11:15 they finally woke up. We tried to feed them quickly and then go. As if getting out of the house is ever quick these days. And today it was frigid. Bone chilling winds rattled the window panes. Bundling the babies took half an hour. Finally, with the babies all bundled, as I was putting M into the moby wrap she spit up all over my chest. I had to unwrap myself and change. We started off to the play date probably about an hour and forty-five minutes after the start time.

“I think I wrapped [E] too tight,” D said, before we’d walked a block, the frigid wind making our faces ache. “I don’t think she can breathe.”

“She can breathe.”

“I don’t think she can breathe!”

“Let’s go!”

“This is stupid!”

By the time we made it to the play date the last two people were leaving. We said hello then turned around and walked back home.

The rest of the day went similarly. I went to get a free high chair from another parent of twins in Clinton Hill. She had asked me to come between 2 and 3:30 because her three year olds would be napping.

“They’re not sleeping,” she said first thing when she opened the door. Her hair was unbrushed and her eyes bloodshot. Her husband appeared around the corner, about to say something to her then stopped when he saw me. “The only thing about these highchairs,” she said, “I sort of wished we had invested in some of the fancier ones with steps, like the Stokke, because…”

“Aiiiiii! Maaaamaaaa!” there was a scream from down the hall. The woman sighed and walked off mid-sentence. They husband offered to help me to the car. “I don’t have a car,” I said. “I’m taking the subway.”

“Can you make it?”

I hoisted the the highchair over my shoulder plus lugged two booster seats they’d given me in a big IKEA bag all the way to the subway, the wind blowing me back one step for every two forward. I was reminded of the scene in the movie, In America, where the father carries the Air Conditioner on his back across town. I was also reminded of an ant.

When I got home we washed and scrubbed the high chairs, we fed the babies, we washed the highchairs again, we washed the babies, we washed everything, we did laundry at the laundromat, we made dinner. Finally we put the babies to bed. They cried for fifteen minutes before finally going down. I don’t know if they were wired from the sweet potatoes or what.

It’s been a long day.

Bath Time Torture

My babies hate baths. We go through the ordeal twice a week, and each time I hope maybe this time it will be okay…

I set up the baby tub carefully on the dining room table, a nice fluffy towel, some cotton balls, baby shampoo. Undress the first baby, she’s fine. Take her over to the tub, she’s fine. Wipe a little water on her face with a washcloth, sometimes she’s okay. Dip her in the tub WAAAAaaaaAAaAH! And then, as the bath continues, the cries grow hysterical. Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!

Meanwhile I try to remain calm, speak soothingly. “It’s juuuuust water. Nice warm water. It’s really not that bad, is it? It’s really not that bad, is it? Beginning to wonder myself if it is somehow bad, hands shaking. Does this bring up traumatic NICU bath memories of some sort? Nerves fraying.

Our pediatrician recommends a bath as part of a nice, soothing, go to bed ritual. Not in our house. Today is bath day. Actually yesterday was bath day, but I just didn’t have it in me. Twice a week the dreaded day comes. I’ve gotten very quick at giving baths.

Note: I composed this blog in dread just before I had to give the twins a bath. I am happy to report that both baths went okay. Okay meaning there was some crying, but not the breathless, hysterical crying that sometimes ensues, and at least one twin smiled at me from the tub. So maybe we are getting somewhere. I remain ever-hopeful.

And ever-exhausted.