Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Evolution of Bathtime

Evolution of Bathtime

Today the guys were splashing in the tub after less-than-graciously tolerating the business part of bathtime. They Were fighting over an empty shampoo bottle, turning faucets off and on, throwing toys over the edge, and splashing themselves and each other. On the towel rack above the tub still hung the bath sponge I used when they were tiny. I found myself on a trip down memory lane.

In the hospital, in the NICU, the guys bathed in the evening. I was only there for a couple of baths. We disconnected the guy from his wires and put him in one of those plastic hospital bins. You know those bins that you get when you have surgery - they contain a barf tub and a cup?  That's where we washed my babies. We lined the tub with towels to make it small enough, and kept the guys wrapped in warm cloths during the bath.

Once home, I couldn't attempt a bath with them both. I would wait until I had one awake and one asleep. I used the plastic tub a couple of times, then tried one of those bath sponges you put in the bottom of the bathtub. Finally, I just climbed in the bath with him, holding him on my lap while I washed him. The guys hated baths, but liked being held.

Later when they were almost sitting independently  I would bring both guys onto the bathroom, but would bathe them one at a time. I would put them each in a walker and let them roll around the room. They loved being in a generally unseen room and would bounce around. One at a time, I'd take them out of their walkers and bathe them, still in my lap. By now they were interested in the water and liked the bath. The problem was the process of taking one out of the bath, drying and diapering, and putting him in the walker generally made them unhappy. Plus, if while I was in the tub, the baby in the walker started to get into something, it was an extremely difficult and slippery maneuver to get us out of the tub.

Eventually I gained the confidence required to wash them both at once. The three of us would get into the tub together. I would hold one in my lap to wash him while the other started learning about splashing. H loved this arrangement. K hated it. Less confident in his sitting up skills, he kind of freaked out when it was H's turn to be washed to K had to abandon my lap. This period of time was full of many slips, banged heads, face first falls into water followed by sputtering, and the occasional difficulty getting up.

Now I tell the guys it's Bathtime. I don't think they know that word yet, but they follow me to the bathroom because they always follow me. I put them both in the tub, and I sit on the side of it with my feet in the water. The guys splash and play, and I try to get in there and wash them quickly without annoying them too much. Once they're rinsed, they fart around until someone slips or takes a toy from his brother and it stops being fun. Right now the hardest part is keeping everyone in a good mood while holding still for the drying and diapering. Then there's the issue of getting them OUT of my bathroom. Apparently that is the most interesting place in the world.

How things change!  I suppose this is news to nobody.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Help! Sleep etc.!

I know after being absent from blogging for so long, I have no right to ask for help.  I am, however, begging.

We have so many things going on, and I think they are all contributing to my lack of any real sleep.  I don't know which issue to address first, or what to do!

First off, we never sleep-trained.  We rock the guys to sleep.  This works well at night, when Hubby can help.  It used to work well at naptime, too.  I was really savvy at rocking two guys to sleep, then gently sliding off the chair with them in my arms, laying them down on the ground, then picking them up and putting them in their cribs one at a time.  This no longer works much of the time.  Now, I slide to the ground, gently lay down two guys, who wake up a little and fuss, but then doze back off.  I pick up one guy, head to the nursery, get three steps, and then WAIIIIIILLLLLLLLL from the guy left behind.  I try to hurry to get into the nursery and close the door before the babe in my arms wakes, but this only works about half the time.  Then, as I put the little man in his crib, he bounces back up, seemingly fully awake.  I rub his back and he dozes back off, UNLESS his brother has run down the hallway and is screaming outside the nursery door.  When this happens, or if I don't get him into the bedroom fast enough, I must start all over with the double rocking.

The other thing that is happening is that they are flat-out no longer sleeping through the night.  This means that often the aforementioned process is repeated at three a.m.  Why are they  not sleeping through the night?  Well . . .

They are teething.  Again.  Or, still.  Whichever.

We have taken them off of soy formula and put them on lactose free milk.  Is the milk too hard to digest compared to the formula?  Does the milk not leave them feeling as full all night?  Do they drink too much milk because it is not filling, leading to indigestion?  Are they not getting enough food now that they are not getting formula?  (I feed them as much as they want.  Should I be insistently power-feeding them?)  They both wake up every night now, at least once.  The books say to not go in their room, but okay, there are two of them and I'd rather not have them both wake at once (see above.)  Also, we just have never been rigid with them as far as sleep scheduling, and I don't know that suddenly being strict in the wee hours when they're distraught is a good plan.

Now, we are having K evaluated for 'disorders.'  He has total meltdowns, not like tantrums -- like he is in pain.  Usually it is after being around people, but lately he's doing it in the middle of the night.  He wakes terrified and is completely inconsolable for an hour or so.  What is that?  What's going on?  Is it the beginning signs of Autism?  Is it nightmares?  Is he just hungry, and I'm not getting it?

On top of everything, we have been given instructions to get the kiddos off the bottles.  We understand this is for the good of their teeth.  I have had some limited success doing water in the bottles occasionally, but the milk/formula bottles comfort them in a way nothing else does.  We don't do pacifiers.  They don't suck their thumbs.  When they are tired and fighting sleep, cranky from teething, or just don't want to sit still for bedtime, nothing beats a bottle.  It's really me that needs it more than them.  I am worried about their teeth, but don't know if this is the right time to tackle the bottle issue.

Help!  Any advice with any of the issues!