Monday, May 24, 2010

The Silly Thing a Mom of a Singleton Said

A receptionist at my doctor's office was due around the same time I was due -- just one baby.  She carried to term and I didn't, so my boys are older than her girls technically, but gestational/developmentally they're at the same age.

A couple of weeks ago I visited the doc, and the receptionist and I did the small talk thing about our kids.  She said, "Oh, I miss the days when she was so tiny and new." 

I agreed because that's what you do in small talk, but really?  I can't say that I do miss those days.  Don't get me wrong.  The time when they were bitty after first coming home will always have a special place in my heart, and I wouldn't trade any of it.  On the other hand, I wouldn't go back there for anything.  Perhaps it is a twin thing.  Perhaps it is a preemie thing. 

Our first month or so home, the boys were absolutely precious.  The days were filled with awe and love for these two new little ones in our lives.  The days were also, however, filled with worry, confusion, and of course very little sleep.  Afraid for their fragile immune systems, we continued washing our hands cracked and bloody.  We wiped down every surface with bleach constantly.  We sequestered the boys to their nursery for the most part, attached to their monitors, and banished the pets to the other part of the house.  Nothing touched or came near them unless it had been washed in dye- and perfume-free detergent and rinsed twice.  Air filters protected their lungs from any stray pet hair that may come into the room.  Gradually we had to separate ourselves from the care dictates of the NICU, working out what worked for us.  Even when the boys slept, I didn't.  I was constantly on alert in case their apnea alarms went off. 

Are they pooping enough?  Are they pooping too much?  Is it too hard?  Too soft?  Wrong color?  Are they eating enough?  Are we feeding them too much?  Too often?  Too seldom? 

Newborn babies don't have a 'happy.'  They have a 'content' and a 'crying.'  You know you are doing things right if they are not crying, but they really don't express pleasure until their first smiles arrive after a few weeks.

Now we have confidence as parents.  We have gotten to know our little men and can work together as a family to anticipate and fulfill their needs.  Things are no less busy, but the constant fear and anxiety has given way to delight as the boys started laughing, then babbling, then scooting.

What it comes down to, in the end, is that I am totally in love with the little people our boys are becoming.  Every day they develop more personality, learn something new, or surprise me in some way.  Yes, they were beautiful as tiny ones who depended on us for everything.  I would not, however, trade these interesting little fellows for anything in the world, even their former selves.

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